Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Hand by Mary Ruefle

In a back to school email from The Academy of American Poets, I found this gem, "The Hand" by Mary Ruefle.

The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.

This was me. In fact it still is. It probably always will be.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Eyes Tightly Shut

I have decided to start writing with my eyes shut.  It seems it is the easiest, and sometimes only, way I can get the words out of my head and onto the screen.  It all started this past November, when for the first time ever, I attempted NaNoWriMo. I made the decision the morning the challenge started, which happened to also be two days before working a week-long trade show in Vegas.

Needless to say I failed. Terribly. I barely got a paragraph out that Sunday before deciding that I would work on my novel mentally while in Vegas (my first ever trip to Vegas, btw) and would type out all my wonderful words after I returned.  Every night that week, while my co-workers were out partying it up in Vegas, I headed back to my room. Not to work on my writing though; after standing in a booth talking to strangers all day, instead of thinking about my characters or subplots, all I could think about was throwing away my dress shoes and sleeping forever. Neither option possible since I had to get up and do it all over again the next morning. And then I got home, and my kids and husband missed me and wanted my attention! And then I had to work late, to make up for the real work I missed while at the trade show! And then it was Thanksgiving! And then it was December! And then, and then! With all these fairly legit excuses I was doomed before I started and never really made a dent on the novel.

Usually I start over-analyzing everything and editing and worrying and I end up with a blank screen in the end, but that one paragraph I eked out on the second of November? I wrote that fully embracing the whole "write now, edit later" thing everyone seems to love about NaNo: I just sat down and started typing out my story. After a couple false starts, where I deleted and changed those first few sentences, I finally just closed my eyes and started typing. And it wasn't half bad, and I was actually proud of those words. Even though I haven't written much since November <insert excuse here, here and here>, for what I have written-a story start, several blog drafts, half a poem-I've found that closing my eyes and just typing silences the condescending voices in my head, at least long enough to get the words out, then I really do have to edit. 

It's a start, right?