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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poets&Writers.Gov


February 1st is fast approaching, that wonderful time of the year when we slither into sparkly cocktail dresses, drink champagne, and make detox resolutions. Right? I have made a little resolution myself--except it's not little, it's huge and impossible, and so I need not only my boyfriend but my invisible Australian fanbase to breathe down my neck on this one. (It's about writing, so if you're here for some homeless person jokes, come back later.)

A few weeks ago, I was listening to some of my poet friends talk about their perfect poet lives, and they were reminiscing about the poetry-writing exercises that they had to do in college. Northwestern alumni/literate people everywhere, you may have heard of Mary Kinzie and her uber-intense poetry classes--well anyway, my friends have taken them all AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE. So I was sitting there, listening, and suddenly I couldn't help but wonder: ARE WE SLUTS?

Without warning, I was spinning in a vortex of horror! My hair doubled in size and dyed itself blonde, I was smoking a cigarette, and my closet was filled with expensive shoes! And in the darkest recesses of my mind, there sprang the most terrifying questions known to mankind, and I was powerless to stop them: ARE WE 35 GOING ON 13? CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH AN EX? WHEN DID WE STOP BEING FREE TO BE YOU AND ME?

And then the vortex of horror vanished and I was sitting back with my poetry friends, who were all screaming Sylvia Plath quotes at each other. I ask you, faithful readers, which is worse?

Anyway.

So I started to think, "Ugh. I have never truly been stretched on the rack of fiction writing, like my poet friends were stretched. I have never crawled, breathless and bleeding, to the Altar of Fiction and flung my bloodstained manuscript into the flames. I have never ripped my heart out with a pen and written a story on its pulsating surface." EW! I'm gonna be honest: fiction classes are easy! You write two stories, you swoon over your professors, and you do three "exercises" like "write a scene...involving a piece of clothing!" (which probably aren't even graded). If you're a genius like me, you crank that shit out at Cafe Ambrosia (RIP) while your boyfriend slaves away over his post-colonial post-modern African-American Diasporic intellectual really hard to understand jazz studies rom-com thesis.gov. And then you turn it in and you graduate with a B.A.(M.F.).

But chances are you're not actually that good at writing fiction.

I definitely didn't wish this at the time, but now I wish I had been forced to write one thing a day, like my poet friends. Not that I minded the sweet bed of roses that was Northwestern's "strenuous" "academic" "program," but...you know what I'm saying, right? I don't know! Am I right? Am I merely throwing platitudes into the infinite abyss?

So my resolution, which I've already begun (RAH RAH RAH!), is to write one (1) story a week until the end of February. AAAAAAHH! This would've been easy in college, when my schedule was full of important things like: 1) judge people, 2) cook dinner with boyfriend, 3) good thing I was homeschooled and read Jane Eyre at the age of 6 so I don't have to read it again for class! Now it's going to be freaking hard because I am a full time working mom, minus the child. This week is almost over and, while I have the rotting, gape-toothed skeleton of something that could conceivably, like maybe to an illiterate Martian, be called "a story," it's not ready. So I gotta get on that. Because next Monday I start another story, and another story after that, so by the end of February I should have 6 stories where formerly there were none.

To keep myself accountable, I'm showing each draft to my boyfriend at the end of each week, but I was thinking...(shuffles feet)...that maybe I could post a bit of each story here? Then I would know that somewhere, somehow, at the end of every week, Hugh Jackman is reading my work.

So Saturday or Sunday, expect a work of inconceivable...well...

1 comment:

You are truly great.