Sunday, May 26, 2013

A fact made particularly clear.

Posts I want to write keep backing up in my mind, and eventually the ideas grow stale and I forget about them.

Yikes. There's a moral here.

I am feeling a bit more energy (although I am finding that naps are still rather wonderful things), so hopefully I will write some of these posts. And also other things.

For instance, I want to submit to this. But I'm not sure what to submit. The two stories I love most are not ready; the third is very short, possibly too short to qualify. Well, I have more than a month before the deadline. I should work on one of my darlings.

I am sorry to say that one of my roadblocks is that all my stories are on the my huge, heavy laptop that I don't use much anymore because it has a broken hinge and can't close and also something is wrong with the fan and it always sounds like the computer is about to lift off. This is a pathetic reason not to write. I am trying to push past the various forms of pathetic that are holding me back. Exhaustion is a legitimate reason; choosing to use your unexhausted moments to watch Game of Thrones is not.

Fact is, it is time for me to write again. And it is going to hurt. Oh yes. (Think training for a marathon when you've been sitting on a couch for the past year.) But it is time, more than time.

I didn't get in to this program--heck, if I had, I would have been terrified--and anyways, I didn't expect to. But applying to it meant something. It was a step, a movement. And then Greg Wolfe sent me a personal message, which was awesome. (I'm sure he sent one to people other than me, but I know for a fact that he didn't send one to everybody.)

Shortly thereafter, I had an all-too-rare phone conversation with my cousin, and confessed to him I hadn't done much writing since graduating. He was quite disappointed in me. Rosemary, he said, you should be writing. Don't lose it.

I know. I know that I should be writing. I know I could lose it. It terrifies me.

Almost immediately afterward I got an email from an author who I'd met online via the Catholic Writer's Guild. He had read a story of mine ("Dust") for a workshop, and months later emailed to congratulate me when it was published. He remembered me and my story and pointed me in so many helpful directions--links to contests I should enter, an offer to read my work, an invitation to approach his own publisher when I had a collection of short stories ready for publication. I was so touched!

And also so embarrassed to admit I hadn't been writing lately.

It has been made particularly clear to me that the time has come. I think what terrifies me most about this is that I had started to think about my writing as something that it didn't matter too much if I just sort of let it go. Would I be sad about it and regret it later on? Probably. But really, it's not like my stories are going to change the world. In the big picture it doesn't matter. Right?

Except it does. It isn't the same as if I gave up knitting, say, or decided to give up training for a marathon because it was too hard or I just wasn't into it anymore. For who I am and who I'm called to be, it matters. It is part of reality in such a way that to walk away (and especially to let it slip away through laziness and fear) would be a loss for me--spiritually and personally. It would be more than just a personal regret. Not because my stories are going to change the world or are somehow necessary to Catholic Literature or whatever, but because I would not be fulfilling God's plan for my life, and that ripples outward. When we neglect our own growth, we can never know what might have been, both for ourselves and those whose lives we touch.

I've realized, also, that my desire for a less haphazard prayer life and a return to writing are so, so very similar. They both need discipline. I am not a disciplined person. I function according to deadlines, which I no longer have imposed on me from outside, so I just sort of do things as they come to me. Right now at least, this doesn't matter too much for things like housework (although even there I've started finding that rhythm and routine is important). But for craft--oh does it matter!

I need order. It is hard to know where to start.


  1. Well, I hope you do find the motivation to get back into writing. If it really is something you can "lose" as you say, it seems important. It's hard for me to really "get this", though. Writing for me is merely a basic skill...practical, not an art. I realize that it can be elevated to that, but it's weird to think of "practicing" it the way you might do with a musical instrument or something. I'm not sure that I have any comparable skills or talents to compare it to.

  2. Oh hun...

    To start, Google Drive is an excellent resource for storing documents that you can work on from any machine. It is secure because it's through your gmail account. If you haven't started using it yet, I highly recommend it. At least moving your major writing folders over to it would be a step in the right direction, and would eliminate your first excuse of that faulty laptop.

    If you would like, perhaps we could workshop your stories together? I would be honored. Plus you would have someone to be accountable to, which will help you get back into third party deadlines. I thrive on them, too. NaNoWriMo last year was (dare I say it) a blessing for me. Perhaps a self-imposed NaNo might do you wonders.

    Despite the fact that you're not writing, I am continually amazed by what you've accomplished so far. Talking to authors, being offered "ins" in the publishing world. That's all amazing. I think, perhaps, you were so ready to jump into motherhood and family life with prayer not just because of how you were raised, but also because of that fellowship. An unanticipated side-effect. Do you have student loans from grad school hanging over you, or was it all paid for? It's a powerful tool of self-guilt to put so much money into a degree, have to pay it off slooooowly while you're broke all the time, and then not use said degree.

    That said... I haven't made much progress with my writing, either. Little by little, sure, but nothing major. My career has taken steps forward, but most of my days after work are spent reading leisurely, reading submissions, writing book reviews, or editing reviews. Any novel writing comes in fitful bursts, and any short story idea that initially demands to be written eventually sputters and fades (re: your moral in the beginning of this blog post). So, I understand how life can just drag you along a different path as you look to a preferred parallel one and mutter, "But... but..."