Woman on a Journey | Writing

Gutsy, Brash, Yet Lilty

This is my third post about taking a writing class with Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew at the Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISE).

Journal Entry from Wednesday July 31, 2013

It’s my third day on Madeline Island. So far it’s been intense, wonderful, exhausting, overwhelming, exciting and frustrating.

I’m going around in circles trying to select one manageable piece of story to work on for the reading the whole class will participate in on Friday, before we take the ferry back to Bayfield and head on home.

This feeling of circling and never landing is the same thing I struggle with at home. I start on one thing and then am drawn to another, then another, then another! I rewrite one event five times, five different ways, without realizing I’m doing so.

Perhaps it’s significant that I am drawn to the same part of the story over and over again. But why is the emphasis always different? Where is the true story? How do I meld the many minds of Maery together?

I meet with Elizabeth one-on-one for thirty minutes this afternoon. I have so many questions I want to ask but I need to choose the most important ones to ask first, in case we run out of time. I hope to get at least one bit of wisdom that helps me to loosen and write freely and fearlessly again.

I’ve been thinking about hiring a writing mentor for at least three years now. I’ve had three different writers in mind for the task – Elizabeth is one of them. But it’s expensive. I keep thinking I should be farther along before I spend the money on a mentor. And yet, a mentor may be what gets me farther along. And then I think, I should be able to do this on my own and use the money for travel and fun stuff that will feed my creativity. But maybe there are things I can give up, like cable TV, or things I can put off spending money on, like painting my house’s exterior, and spend the money I save on a mentor or editor or classes.

And so the process of not deciding goes on in my life.

This investment in developing my writing, which is not going to pay off monetarily, is a tough topic. Just putting the money into coming to Madeline Island was a decision that I wrestled with for two years.

I want to leave the island feeling as though one part of my writing struggle is less of a struggle. I want to leave believing that I can finish what I started.

And I’d like to break free from my blogger-twitter-lilt and return to my gutsy, brash, possibly offensive or shocking, but always honest brogue.

“The more you show up on the page, the stronger your voice becomes,” Elizabeth said in class yesterday.

There are aspects of my voice that do not, and probably never will, attract the people that fit into the “majority” designation. But I think I can attract the people that I want to write for.

As I work on my story, it occurs to me how much I’ve changed. Or perhaps that’s simply desperation speaking, wanting to reassure myself of the distance I’ve traveled.

All I know is that when I walk past someone here at MISE and say, “Good morning,” I really mean it. I know, SOOO sappy (and lilting).

But the sky today is a soft blue and there’s a cool breeze that makes the warm touch of  the sun all the more sweet, and I feel that “Good Morning” down to my bones.

I can feel the beginning of letting go.

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One Comment

  1. I’m not a writer but I understand about the feeling of circling and never landing … and I do know that I like the new look of your space here and I think that letting go is an important step.
    Always wishing you the best.

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