About a year ago I had a computer snafu that resulted in a loss of all the creative work I’d done over the course of 3 months. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to make me feel totally deflated and step away from anything beyond blogging. I have a really hard time writing creatively, having spent a lifetime in school with people who essentially want to be professional critics (myself included). It’s simultaneously my highest aspiration and deepest anxiety to share my creative work.
At the same time, I’ve hit my grad school quitta-versary and in thinking back over the landscape of this year, the changes, letting go of some goals and picking up others, the thing I keep coming back to is writing, writing, writing. I was never gung ho on the whole dissertation or research thing. It was never a fantasy of mine to read a chapter to an empty room at a national conference. But if I die without being published, that will be a huge regret. Hell, if I hit 40 and haven’t been published, then I’m going to be asking what the fuck I’ve been doing with myself. That means making some time for this, somewhere. And instead of worrying about what grad students might think about it, I keep asking myself if Jen will like it. If Jen likes it, I know I’ve got something. (Jen, and Shell. And Bina. And Heather and Emily. OK, all my cool and bighearted lady/mama writer friends.)
I’ve never been a longhand writer, but I’m trying it out because I spend so much time at my computer, both for work and for the blog. It’s been difficult for me to get into a creative writing headspace with tabs open to my work email and my blog stats (and Jon Stewart video clips, and cute pics of cats, and and and). So I’m trying this out because Ariel Gore says it will work and it’s one thing I haven’t yet tried. I wrote three pages today during my “walk in” hours, scattered scenes for what might be a short story. My thinking is that I want to get some ideas going so that when I go visit my sister in about 6 weeks after SHE HAS HER BABY SQUEEEE that I can bring my notebooks and a few good pens and no computer or iPad and (when not snuggling a baby, folding laundry, or cooking dinner) I can just write.
We’ll see how that goes. The bottom line is, though, IDEAS.