This evening I begin a writing workshop course, part of the adult continuing education offerings from The New School. It is listed as an advanced course, for more experienced writers, with the intent of polishing a particular piece. As time passes, noodling around at my desk with various bits and pieces of nothing, I grow increasingly nervous. I was extraordinarily nervous when I signed up for the course earlier in the summer, but the sharp anxiety dissipated, ebbed back like a slow tide to some inner, quiet, tranquil recess of myself. Now that performance is imminent, it roars. I have not been in a classroom since I graduated from university; it was only five years ago, but those five years seem so much longer, so much more, tedious and titillating, compressed in those times, compared to the four years spent on my campus. While the years since academic pursuits have been busy, a seeming constant hustled trajectory, always moving, moving, they have not been filled with much writing. Some poems, the preludes to longer works of fiction, or not, various journal entries, various online essays and jaunts, many superficial blog posts. Jotted down notes in blank sketch books, scrawled bits of prose on the backs of shopping receipts. Rare do I return to these bits, to edit and rework and shape, sculpt into something more. Nothing substantial. Nothing with real meat, nothing that involved strenuous coaxing and cajoling and metaphoric, or literal, tears bringing that meat to life, to something beautiful with, in a way, its own life beyond the realm of my mind.
My writing has been haphazard, a dalliance, rather than something to which I am dedicated, for which I am proud.
I, like many, have always had a fear of rejection. Now, I am worried, I am starting to realize that I have developed a fear for effort. For the unknown risk.
The nerves are simultaneously hideous and lovely, evil and good; I can hardly wait.
(image taken from From Your Desks)