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Archive for June, 2009

Books Read in May

“An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination” a memoir by Elizabeth McCracken
Once upon a time, before I knew anything about the subject, a woman told me that I should write a book about the lighter side of losing a child.
(This is not that book.)

I don’t know how she wrote this book without it becoming sentimental or maudlin. I mean it’s about the loss of a baby. A baby dies. So many ways the writing of that particular story could go wrong. But not here. Not here at all. She tells it slowly, calmly and deeply.  Each page is filled with joy, grief, clarity and tenderness as she explores what she calls “the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending.”

“Falling Man” a novel by Don DeLillo
It was not a street anymore but a world, a time and space of falling ash and near night.

From the first line we are back on that fateful day of September 11. We follow Keith from the ruins of the towers to the doorstep of his estranged wife, Lianne, and their son Justin. We watch as they try to cobble a family life back together, attempting to maneuver through this new world they find themselves in. Not only do we see the events through their eyes but also those of one of the terrorists. The story is haunting and beautiful.

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Slumps and Slugs

So I’m not sure how or if to continue this blog. Obviously I am not compelled enough on any kind of regular basis to even show up. I mean, it’s been over a month since my last post. Granted, I was on vacation for almost two weeks but still… my entries are sporadic at best. So what is the issue? Is it the subject of the blog? Is it writing in general? I am feeling stuck. In some kind of creative slump. I came home from vacation bursting with all these grand intentions. It was June 1. I love the idea of the first of anything. It’s a clean slate. And June 1 is exactly halfway through the year, a perfect time to reflect of my goals and see how they are coming. Did I even do goals this year?  I honestly don’t remember. Not a good sign.

Here are some random thoughts on the state of my creativity lately (in no particular order):

• I submit stories to my writing group on a monthly basis but they are all older stories that I am rewriting. It feels stale.

• The obvious solution is to write new stuff.

• The problem is that all these older pieces that are so close are just hanging over me. I want them done so I can send them out into the world and move on.

• Why is it so much easier to write morning pages and writing practice prompts instead of diving into my stories?

• I am inspired and envious of several friends and acquaintances who are a) having books published this summer or b) have finished drafts of novels or c) are starting MFA programs

• The difference between them and me? They write on a regular basis. They did/do the work.

• And you can add a heaping dose of guilt to that because all of the above also have fulltime jobs. Unlike me. I know, I know. I’m a mom. I run a house. I do (very) occasional freelance work. But the girls are older. Need me less. And it doesn’t change the fact that I waste several prime daytime alone hours not writing most days. And I’m sure those who work fulltime are just rolling their eyes at my whining. I don’t blame you, really. I roll my eyes at myself. Just suck it up, I tell myself. Just go write. Just freakin’ do it already

• I can no longer tell if I struggle with this because I am exhausted or the struggle between writing versus not writing has exhausted me.

• Instead of writing today I watched reruns of “West Wing” on the DVR. Felt like a slug.

• I have energy now. It is 8:28 at night. It could just be that I hit slug bottom. Nowhere to go but up and off the couch.

• I could use my facebook status updates to announce my writing intention for the day and then be accountable. I kind of like that idea. Nobody really cares but me anyway.

• I get mired thinking about the state of publishing and the economy and wonder if my scribblings are really worth all those trees I use up. (Good God, no wonder I’m not writing.)

• I’ve lost my connection to writing or why I am writing. For so long I wrote just for myself. Teaching myself. No English degree. No MFA in creative writing. Was there joy back then? Did I enjoy the process? I think so. At the very least I was dedicated to the process.

So that’s where I am. And where I’m not. Kind of in this creative limbo. I’ve lost my way a bit and that is uncomfortable. When I first got my driver’s license, getting lost was a huge fear of mine. Not so much anymore. I know that all roads lead home eventually.

All I truly know is this: Not writing is not an option. I’ve considered it. Even hoped that it could be possible.  But even though I am in the dark right now, as I often am, writing always lights the way. Always. Every. Single. Time. Like now, for instance.

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