Thursday, March 19, 2015

Processing Kumbaya

I went to hear Nancy Holder speak last night about writers, editors, and the writing process.  Much of what she said I knew on some level, and it can be instructive to hear something said in a different voice.

I appreciated what she had to say about how writers are always looking for meanings in things, especially rejection slips, invitations to anthologies, and requests for rewrites -- and how they need to remind themselves that a rejection slip is just a rejection slip.  

She shared how she starts the day with breakfast and yoga, then a quick review of the day's agenda and goals, and then the creative stuff.  As she gets tired through the day, she switches to editing and the tasks that don't require creativity.   I liked how she didn't beat herself up when her output was low, she just re-adjusted her goals until things could improve -- in other words, she had a plan for managing productivity and didn't just sit there, hating that she was not feeling productive. 

Writing: After speaking with some other folks (and realizing I was rehearsing my distress) about the Men's Story Project, I've decided that this is too much like group-therapy-as-performance, what I want to say can't be said in a seven minute time slot (which works out to only 700 to 800 words), and that participating wont address my needs.   I might put a version of what I've written up here.

Dreams: Thursday morning I dreamed that I walked by a old wooden house that was for sale.  It was day, and the overcast sky was beginning to rain.  The house had a large central area, possible with a fire place and brick chimney as its central support.  There was a bookshelf visible through the large widows, and I imagined twelve-foot high shelves. 

I was going to bike to Corvallis, but the rain was heavy, so I wanted to drive instead.  I was going to take the car I usually drive, but Mark needed it, so I ended up taking his stick-shift.  

I zoned out driving, because I became aware that I was driving up a small hill on a muddy gravel road. The road ended in a cul-de-sac, with about seven 1970's ranch-style homes in a huddle with goats, horses and chickens.  Since this wasn't Corvallis, I was going to back-track and figure out where I'd turned wrong.  Except the car turned into a horse, and wanted to see the other horses.  Then it turned into a goat.  "You stupid goat!" I said, as it left the road and clopped over rotting and slippery oak that had fallen across a small river.  I was not surprised by the car's transformation.

There was a break.  I was in a shop or boutique of some sort.  N.K.H. was there and we were discussing manuscripts.  I think J.L. was there and N.S. was with her.  I think we were discussing a tarot card reading.  Or maybe the manuscript was a reading.  

There was more about jumping into a wide river and rescuing toys that had fallen in.  And Mark appeared.  And then the dream moved on to be some kind of 50's flapper girl spy thriller.


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