I’m working on a non-fiction essay today for a workshop I’m taking this Saturday. I’ll tell you more about the workshop later, but now I just wanted to say how different it is for me to work on something non-fiction. I’m so used to making things up! It’s been an interesting challenge. I’m also writing about the time I broke my back, which was a pretty traumatic experience. As I write about it, I feel surprisingly emotional, but then when I reread what I’ve written it just isn’t any good! It doesn’t seem to flow or have the power and energy I want it to have. It’s so weird… I’m just having such a hard time organizing the story in a thoughtful way that will resonate with readers. I’ll let you know how it goes. Perhaps I won’t just have just one shitty first draft, but many.
Speaking of “shitty first drafts,” I just found this Anne Lammot quote (she’s the one that coined that phrase) and thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s a reminder, especially for those more difficult days, why it is we do what we do and why it’s so important to never give up. I’m getting tired of hearing that literature is dead, that publishing is dead. We must continue to read others’ stories and to tell our own. The quote below is just one reason why.
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life; they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
*photo credit: flickr, sr.gabriel