As I said in my last post, I was pretty worried about receiving my second packet back in the mail from my mentor. I was worried I had gone too far, or not gone far enough. Turns out all of that stress was for naught; he loved it. There were places where he wrote his reactions in capital letters, with exclamation points and everything. Good for the soul, to say the least.
One comment he made throughout was how different this submission was from my first. If it’s possible, I’m pretty sure I used those first 25 pages to bury the lead. I was tiptoeing around the real meat of the story: the emotion, the work. I was scared of putting a lot of raw stuff on paper and being told I suck at doing so. But I guess I don’t.
With this boost of confidence, I plan on making the next submission just as good. And putting his comments page up on my fridge when I get home.
I’ve started therapy again. It’s been about 7 years since I’ve done any intensive work on myself, and it shows…especially in my writing. What I mistook for lack of “the right words” or talent is actually pretty severe depression that has hijacked my brain, allowing only the most basic of day-to-day operations. This, of course, excludes creative thinking of any kind and doing anything good for myself. So, I’m back on the couch, Mondays at 5. I like my therapist so far, and hope to clear the mush and cobwebs from my brain quite soon.
In the meantime, I just have to keep writing. Even if it’s crap, even if it lacks emotional connection: a problem which has spilled into every aspect of my life and onto the page. I’m in there, somewhere, and I’m working my way back.
Is it possible to lose words in one language if you’re speaking another 40 hours a week? I feel like my English vocabulary is now a casualty of my French-language job and grow frustrated with my reliance on a thesaurus to clear the cobwebs and reminding me of words I’ve always known. I just hope my sub-par command of the English language didn’t carry over into my second packet, which should be in the hands of my mentor now. Gulp. I’m pretty sure I crushed the craft essay, though it was strange to analyze my own mentor’s book! Fiction-wise, for this submission, I plowed forward instead of revising–at my mentor’s recommendation–and tried to get into the meat of the story. I’m worried, though, that I was either too cold or melodramatic with the emotional portions. Guess we’ll see.
Besides that, I now have two ideas for other novels I would like to write…one of which may or may not involve a lesbian werewolf. It’s sounding pretty awesome, so I’ll write some and see where it goes. I always wanted to wait 10 years, write a vampire/monster book, and hit it big like someone always does every generation. Maybe this is my gold mine…
…Or, much more likely, this idea is merely my feral mind resisting routine and structure. It’s like Natalie Goldberg explains in Writing Down the Bones: writing is a practice, a form of meditation. And just as my mind wanders when I try to clear it for meditation, so it does when I try to focus on one idea for a novel. First, I think I need a new computer, or a desk, or a space outside my house. And then the familiar doubt creeps in that my focus is in the wrong place, that I’m writing the wrong story.
But if “write the story you’re afraid to tell” is to be my guidepost, I know this is the story I’m meant to tell at this point, werewolves be damned.