Monday 8/30 Check-In
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It's been almost a week. Have we picked ourselves up off the floor and gotten back into the writing groove? What progress have you made on your project this week? Where do you see yourself going this week? What do you foresee as your biggest challenges this week to meeting your writing goals? What's your biggest writing accomplishment in the last week?
  • With the novel, I always intended to publish it, and I labored pretty intensely over it. It's a traditional novel about fairly common themes, so I always felt that every word and sentence had to be the very best I could write, and that the book as a whole had to engage readers despite some of the more familiar aspects. It constantly felt like an uphill battle, even though it was an important story to me. The memoir began more as an attempt to match a personal experience, so it was less about the words and sentences and more about the feeling. I read Carole Maso's lyrical novel, AVA, last year, and it inspired me to write from a more immediate, emotional, musical place. I knew before I finished that book that it was the answer to why I hadn't tried to write my memoir before. I hadn't ever seen a form and style that could capture my experience. So I set out write something that more authentically captured the experience rather than just the story. Because of that approach, yes, it was free-flowing. I didn't worry about it being the most stunning and technically sound piece of writing. I just wrote it, knowing that it would likely appeal to those who needed to read it and not very many other people. Because I knew it wouldn't be a commercial success, I stopped thinking altogether about all the stuff that plagued me with the novel.
  • and... very profound. So would you say the Novel was more crafted and the memoir more a free-flowing creation? Very different feelings. Thanks for sharing!
  • I agree, and I know you're right. The strange thing is that stories are just sort of falling out of me as if they've been waiting inside for years and now can't wait any longer to investigate the world. I sit down to write, and am sometimes amazed by the results. As for the writing taking me where I need to go . . I just hope the writing has a map, because I certainly don't . . at least not at this point. And yet, it's all good.
  • My grandmother teaching us a family card game as children and then us playing that game after her funeral, the idea that we carry on, even if it's in the memory of a small deck of cards.
  • It's funny. When I finished my novel earlier this summer, I felt relieved and proud and had this immense book to show for all my hard work, and I have spent weeks since then revising and asking for input and perfecting it to submit to agents. It's very important to me that the novel makes its way into print some day. But this memoir, as you said, was foremost for myself. I spent several years waiting for the right time to write it because I knew I wasn't ready. Then it all came out in a span of a few weeks, and instead of feeling this immense weight of my story and the aching need for people to like it, I just feel good about it. I think it's a book, if not strictly in its content then at least in the approach to its content, that others haven't seen before. I think it's unique and potentially very helpful to others. But I mostly just want it to exist. It's an entirely different feeling -- very freeing!
  • Brooke, Yep, I have a Master's in English, and I'm in school again working towards my MFA in Fiction. Sometimes I think there's a bigger impact to made (and more need for it) in grade schools and high schools, but as soon as I consider all the hoops and headaches my own relatives who teach middle and high school have to deal with, only to have the state demand more testing that cuts into their teaching time and to have even more expectations than ever before placed on their shoulders without any additional support (sigh!), I realize I'm not cut out for teaching at those levels. Bless the people who are, though!
  • I finished an essay that I had been putting off. The submission deadline was today, so I really needed to get it done. Yey me!
  • Ah - that sounds like a new discussion topic! "WHO are we writing for?" I have a lot of wrtiting I did too, that was an emotional working through for myself. But will it really help anyone else. Would anyone else get it? Are we writing to entertain and tell a story or are we writing for ourselves and then willing to open the book to all?