My fiction workshop is drawing to a close, this autumn moving past me, my world, with a celerity that was shocking, leaving me cold and alone in its wake. Though I have not quite completed my work and entered an appropriate phase to reflect, overall, my course has been a success. It was a fresh perspective, it was a plunging into something familiar yet still unknown, like diving into a new pool of water, a lake; I know how to swim, the maneuvers, the strokes, I know the feel of water rushing past my body as I break the surface with my hands, head, torso, but each body of water has its own mysteries beneath. Having studied fiction as an undergraduate, the workshop format was familiar, but the dynamics of the group, the instructor, as changing as an organic creature.
Ever the pessimist, ever my own critic, while I am pleased that this experience has been inspiring, I have been and continue to be a bit disappointed in my own performance. My own lack of discipline. While the spark, the desire, to write has been ignited, actual pen to paper, capturing the words that drift feverishly through my cortical corners, snippets, circumstances, has been substantially little. Still, despite this class, despite a welcome and encouraging community, I do not write, at least, not as much as one should. Should. Ever an amorphous concept, fluid, changeling, subject to my harsh biases. Afraid, or more accurately, lazy, I let the words, the stories, flounder listlessly in my mind. Working full time at a demanding career, while trying to pursue something more, something I feel I must, at least for my sanity, is beyond challenging, and I know, rationally, that I should be kinder to myself, be more forgiving.
While still a student, in middle school, in high school, in university, I received much praise, encouragement, pushing: this is what you should do. This is what you must do. When I was younger, this thrilled me, and convinced me. As I grew older, approached that age of metaphoric umbilical cord snapping, this burdened me. It seemed impossible, or perhaps to be lies, told for convenience, to placate. Doubting, I began to instead believe that, like for so many, there existed a palpable artistic sentiment, without the intuition, the genius, the dedication.
Refused to accept a notion of calling, refused to place a bet on talent. Instead, I stumbled forward, into accidental industry, found comfort, some challenges of a different ilk, found struggle.
Earlier in the semester, I read the first portion of a story in draft to my class; mulling over it these few weeks, I have mapped out the second portion, a sort of one-two punch of a structure. Now, to just write it.
(image taken from Vintage Everyday)