I just got an email from the editor of the Wild with Child anthology to say it is almost out. I can’t wait to see it, my own story after all this time, and all the other stories. Even thinking about my story, the Adventures of John One Eye, reminds me of an earlier time in my family’s life, when my son was young and we used to play make believe. John One Eye was a made up pirate whose adventures took us all over the island in search of his treasurers.
Make believe is something which we writers delight in, but which many people give up as life progresses. Why is that? make believe makes the world a richer place, especially when we can share it with others, bringing a bit of magic into their lives too.
I’m just waiting for the ladies in my writing group to arrive. This is a weekly ritual, this writing together, and one I wouldn’t miss for all the writing time in the world. There is something about the time we spend together that is more inspiring than anything else I do. That includes long walks along the ocean or hot spa style baths or fast invigorating music. Well, maybe my life just isn’t that inspiring, but I don’t think so. I think that belonging to a group of like minded women is special. We encourage each other, we’re each other’s cheering section, we catch each other when those pesky rejection letters turn worse than pesky, we rejoice when they turn to acceptance. We read each others’ writing with critical eyes, we read each others’ writing with love. There’s nothing like it. Really.
Has it been difficult these past few days to communicate with those close to you? That’s how this week’s horiscope starts. Makes me reevaluate my view of astrology, because the answer this week is YES. Communicaition misfirings happening all over the place. With friends, family and colleagues. What’s going on? is something in retrograde? Sheesh. So appologies to all those I mis communicated with. Must be something in the stars.
I went to a house concert last night. What a fantastic way to share music. It was so intimate and interactive. The musician told stories and we responded, asked questions, added to the stories. He sang, and when we knew the words we sang along. It was great. I wonder if we can recreate that for writers. Readings in public places are good, but what about house readings. Salons, I think they are called.
Here the reader reads to an audience who is not separated from them by a stage or even a podium necessarily. It can just be people in a living room. What a great way to build up a small following. Maybe I’ll try it one of these days.
New term starting today. How does time go by so fast? Too much to do… so this is a little mini post. I came across this interesting article the other day. Thought I would post it here. Enjoy.
I got my evaluations back today. These are the forms where the students have their chance to write whatever they like (or dislike) about their teachers. I was dreading this particular batch because I hadn’t felt good about this class. It always was so hard to get any discussions going in class and I was certain that they had a good deal of skepticism about me and the class itself. But to my surprise, I got great comments from the students. They found me engaging and approachable and organized. Several of them said they learned something from me.
Now I know that sounds like bragging, but actually its more like surprise. How could I be so unaware? How did I manage to read the class so wrong? This really makes me wonder, how in touch are we really with what goes on in the classroom? How could I be so wrong about myself? Is it just that I am my own worst critic, or is something else going on here? Does this lack of confidence infuse my writing to? Gosh…
Maybe I just expect too much from the classroom. I have visions of book discussions that resemble the discussions that my writing group has about books we’ve read. In these discussions we analyse the meaning of the book, the use of symbols and metaphors. We review the writing style and try to understand what we do or don’t like about it and what parts we can adapt and adopt in our own writing. We discuss at great length what the author was trying to achieve. But maybe what I have to realise is that all those years that have passed since we were in school have actually taught us something. Maybe it is totally appropriate that a bunch of middle aged writers have in depth discussions about books that I can’t get a classroom of students to have. Maybe we really have learned something over the years.
I have to remember that a lot of years have passed since I was a university student. This should give me courage to be confident in my knowledge. Sometimes that is hard to have when I feel so out of touch with the students. I don’t listen to the same music or understand their references, but then I guess that’s okay, because I’m not 23 any more, so maybe they just don’t expect that of me.
I’m feeling pretty good today about teaching and writing. Yahoo for a good evaluation.
A writing mentor told me years ago that it is important to write every day. Of course I didn’t follow that advice, I have a life after all. It’s hard enough to find some time to write, let alone some time every day. But now I have a couple of weeks off and I’m writing every day, and I am reminded of that advice and how wise it is. Not because writing every day makes us better writers, but because writing every day makes us write. The more we write the more we write. It seems obvious, but it isn’t really. As days go by without any writing, I forget to make the time to write. Other things like getting Rowan to his soccer game, or making it to the grocery store before it closes, become more important. The writing time slips off the list to lie forgotten on the floor. But when I write each day, I remember to make time the next day to write, and the next day after that, and the next day. And suddenly a project is closer to completion. It seems so easy, so simple. So now, as part of living as an artist, I am going to talk to my family about structuring our days so that I have a bit of time each day for writing. Maybe that way some of my half started projects will actually get finished.
Okay, so I decided to take some action. To talk to the publishers, to prod my husband about getting something happening with his work. And the results–good. Things are moving again. The publishers had some ideas of how to move forward, and while I am still waiting, at least I am waiting with some forward momentum. I like that feeling.
I’ve been pondering the karmic virtues of waiting. I seem to spend a lot of my time waiting for things, and the question I have is, is it better to wait–to let the fates have their way and to flow with life, or to take control and move things along, even when it might seem like a backwards movement? For example, an editor has had a little manuscript of mine for quite some time now. We have worked a lot on it together, and she is enthusiastic about it. But, the publishing house doesn’t have any money right now, so progress on the book has been stalled. I like working with this woman, and want to stay with her, so I keep waiting. But maybe that’s not the right thing. Maybe I should just take the manuscript back and start again, looking for another publisher. My husband is in the same position with a job. To wait, while the slow cogs of bureaucracy turn, in the hopes that the time and energy he has put in will pay off, or to make a change and take his chances there. This is the question he asks. Now that I have written this, the answer seems more clear. Taking control always seems like a good thing. although, I also see virtue in letting life flow over us. Maybe what I should really cultivate is patience!