Good Evening one and all- or maybe just my loyal reader Mrs. Batty 😀
The weather finally took a nice turn today and it was sunny, 72F, and breezy in the national capital- a nice change from oppressively humid (this is a swamp) and in the mid to high 90’s. As I walked into the office around noon I actually found myself wanting to skip and run to Great Falls and walk around the trail for a while. This didn’t happen and I am now wishing for a hike in a mild, mountainous location Maybe do some terrain research in the Colorado Rockies????
Either way- here is the next exercise!
Exercise #16- Describe something you love to do.
I’ve been asking myself this question for the past year and a half or so and I still don’t have an answer to the question- What do you love to do. I have a LOT of hobbies. I knit, I crochet, I write, I read, I sing, I sew, I cook and I day-dream. These are not very productive skills when it comes to a career I’d guess, but meh- These are the things that can usually get me excited. The though of making a dinner for 10-20 people in a nice setting gets me so excited that I can hardly contain myself. I nearly drove one of my friends crazy last Thanksgiving when she asked me to help with the dinner and I hijacked the whole thing nearly two months ahead of time. In my defense- we had a tight budget and a small kitchen to do dinner for 20, and for all intents and purposes it went off without any crazy issues. When I start to get into the holiday spirit- I think about what project I will knit/crochet for my family and friends and I get giddy. I’m not deluding myself that these creations will get a heck of a lot of use, but I like to do it anyway.
So, what do I love? How would I describe it? One thing that I’ve loved wince I was very young is writing. My journals were my only friends a lot of the time and they were the only place where I could say admit the things that I was feeling. I have not been a loyal journaler to my many half filled blank books. After a certain time, I think that I got bored with the repetitive nature of what I was documenting. The only feelings that I wouldn’t tell anyone were about loneliness, inadequacy, pain, and longing. Those things that felt like if I let them pass through my lips that I was admitting to some kind of failure or damning them to either come true or not depending upon whatever the opposite of what I wanted was.
In the second grade, those were the Connecticut years, I discovered that I liked to write. Mrs. Collazo had a creative writing class that she taught and she really seemed to like my stories. I would hope that she did at least convincingly pretend to like them because it’s kind of cold to tell an eight year old how much they suck. I can also remember in that same class the moment when Allison Fay read her story to the class and I listened and my heart sank because it was so much better than mine. This was the doubt that has stuck with me ever since. The doubt that, though I enjoy the freedom of words and imagery, I might just suck at it.
BUT!!! The moment when you know that you have a story that you can be proud of- that is exceptional. Poo on anyone elses opinion even if it is only others opinions that make a written work successful. In high school, the Virginia years, I went to a summer writers workshop at the UVA campus in Charlottesville and began to “experiment” with my short story writing. I wrote an untitled piece in which the protagonist is making dinner and retreats into her own head where she is having a conversation with the man who lives there. He represents the archetypal antagonist for any teenager- lover, father, friend, foe, etc…… and the only way that she could escape was to plunge her hand into a boiling pot of water.
OK- so it’s trite, I was 16. The quirk was that I didn’t use any He/She identifier. One characters dialogue was italicized and the others was bolded. This story was one of the most intense things that I’d written and read like a suicide note, but I was so enamored of my own ability that I actually wanted to submit it to literary magazines and try to get published. That never happened. My ex-step father accidentally erased the disk that I had saved the story on and I didn’t have a hard copy. I guess that it’s a mix of happiness and heartbreak, but writing that piece was the most alive I have felt and I sincerely hope to reclaim that one of these days.