Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 13th post that has been hanging around in drafts

I'm feeling more optimistic about editing. I hope this feeling will last through some actual editing.
(that was three days ago, since then.)
I got irritated with the people I know for not enjoying my writing, so I decided to do some simple tweaking of it, so I could show it to other people....I printed it out, and read several pages. I didn't enjoy it at all, no energy, no atmosphere. No wonder my readers aren't excited. This realization caused my mood to plummet. I had the woe is me-s. I am so awful at everything, there is nothing, NOTHING, I am good at. I have no graces, no talents, I stink at this, that, and the other thing. Bad wife, bad mother, no domestic skills, not attractive...yada yada yada (I mean why limit myself to a writing bash when I can bash myself about everything?)
That was the mood I was in Wednesday while I went on my walk. It was a beautiful day. It is better though to walk angry than sad, angry moves quickly, sad meanders and mopes, feeling sorry for itself, drifting back and forth between edge of road, and grass.
During my walk I saw a low stone fence, created without mortar, just round stones, and sharp ones, resting, wedged, interlocking like a puzzle. And suddenly I wanted to be that fence, to be something, anything, connected, solid, holding. A low break against wind and snow, standing year after year.
Reading my work I felt it as a visible struggling, that was what it manifested, the stress of a writer desperately trying to say something, not the concerns of the characters, not their story, but mine, I saw the ugly strain of my attempt, I read failing. Struggling, like I can not hear my own voice and am wildly screaming and screeching, trying desperately to hear, to be heard, but without confidence in my ability to make true sounds, nerves and stress mangle my thoughts into harsh broken noises.

Last night I didn't feel up to going to the writer's meeting at our local bookstore. I had never gone before, but thought I should because next month is a writer's conference, which is expensive, and really scary to me (alone in a prolonged social situation with many strangers in places unknown.) and if I intend to attend, I better start by dipping my toe in this bracing pool now. I decided to just go check it out from a distance, pretend to read a magazine or something.

I'm so glad I went. I was nervous and had to be invited over by the woman who gave the editing talk at the library on Monday. I thought it was just going to be random talk about the writing life, but there was a topic and a print out, and then reading aloud and critiques. Anyway..they were inviting, understanding, and energizing. Others who have traveled the road I am on. They were encouraging and eager to offer ideas and tips. Rather than a lone failure (I'm a loser baby..), I felt like I was part of something, connected to others also working on trying to become authors.

They talked about editing, ways of approaching it, ripping out sections (ripping out your heart), of the possibility of needing to set the draft aside and start writing all over at the beginning. Bracing words, a shiver at the thought of doing such work, tearing stuff down, starting over, yet also the bracing support of others holding me up making me feel strong enough to do it.
I didn't want to go, but now I know I needed to. I could join this group, be part of round and jagged stones, set together, creating a low lying fence, a break against wind and snow. Forming something, a group of people who write, we could stand together year after year.
In this simple act of going from a lone stone at the periphery of my yard, to a stone set with other stones, all jagged and smooth in different ways, but each striving to be more, a boundary of being could be built,

this post is almost two weeks old, and both long and incomplete, but I've decided to publish it so my thoughts can keep moving forward.

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