It’s been a while since I’ve let my thoughts spill out onto the page. I’ve continued to write in my private journals and there have been days when I had much to say and then others where I feel as if I’m a small well that has damned itself up somehow. I know that I cannot live in the past. I can visit, but I can only push forward and live in the present.
Where was I…my thoughts…this morning my thoughts are knocking around inside some sort of cage, pulling at the bars shouting, “let me out.” If I don’t write this and post it to my blog(s) I won’t be able to get these little hindrances out of my system.
I forgot my secret pin number to my ATM card this past weekend. I had only just used it that morning or was it the night before? I walked up to the machine on a Saturday in the middle of an art festival. I put my card in and as I did so, I realized the numbers weren’t coming to me. It wasn’t a good feeling. I tried again. The card spit back out. I tried again and again. I put my hand to my head. How could I forget? The bank was open. I went in, explained and waited to reset my pin number. It felt awful to forget a number that I use almost daily. But this number meant nothing to me. The bank had assigned the number when I was issued a new card for a new account a year ago and I had never gone in to change it to something more memorable. I used that as the rational for how I could forget such an important number. On the other hand, I’m surprised I didn’t forget it sooner. It was a fuzzy day. A migraine was coming on and I was out of sorts.
A few weeks back I decided to discontinue my membership in the writer’s group that I had been attending. The group was supportive and I appreciated the feedback that I received, but for several reasons including time, I felt that I needed to move on. I’m glad I at least experienced what it was like. I come back to a quote that has stuck with me ever since I saw Jonathan Franzen speak. At the end of his talk, an audience member asked what he thought about writing critique groups. He said they can be good, but what stuck is when he said, “After enough practice, you can see your own work.” I do believe this.
I was scared stiff when I first started sharing myself by blogging a few years back. All of my writing up until that point was kept tight in my journals or written in essays for teachers. I noticed that as I got more comfortable sharing aspects of myself, it became a little less frightening to push the button to post my blog. I only recently started cross-posting to Wordpress. I’ve found some great children’s books blogs and have discovered a variety of other interesting blogs. I don’t have a whole lot of extra time to search around on Wordpress, so I’ve been appreciative to find other blogs through the process of blogging.
The short story writing class I am taking is fine. There are some interesting assignments. Part of me is trying to remember exactly why I signed up for the class. I know why, but really, why? I do try to practice coming back to “beginners mind” from time to time. In this class it’s difficult for me not to compare my experiences to another creative writing course I took so many years ago where we wrote several short stories using the whole story process.
What’s working for me in this class is that it’s digestible and the instructor is great. What’s not working for me is the focus on scene building, our assignments focus on a scene per week, except when we do a workshop with a full story. I am writing my scenes and the instructor helps us find ways that we can blow the scene up into story; however, I am noticing that I don’t necessarily want to blow all the scenes up and if I do, I want the story to happen organically without outside forces.
Since I know we are coming up on a workshop week where we will choose one of our scenes that we’ve written in the class and create the full story, I have one last chance to write a scene assignment before workshop. I am going to try to think of the full story ahead of time—in fact, I already have, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go with it. We’ll see.
In general, my mind is not working well with a scene-by-scene approach. It feels very piecemeal to me. And I’m not sure if it’s because I learned one way and am now learning another way or if I prefer starting with the whole—the meaning—and working from there.
I am starting to feel Ray Bradbury’s words more than ever and keep them close so that I can avoid the pitfall: “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”
It’s all a wonderful process. My middle name should have been process. I don’t actually have a middle name, but if I did have one—and this goes way back to high school—it would be Raye.
Rebbecca Raye Hill. That isn’t visually appealing, is it? Oh, well.