“The main block to transformation is the thought that we shouldn’t be where we are, that we should already be further along in our growth than we perceive ourselves to be.” I’ve had this quote on my desk for decades. On this same scrap of paper that I cut unevenly long ago. I’ve never re-typed it onto a new page Or framed it. Or re-cut the paper so it’s even. I like it just the way it is. And every time I reread it the words say as much to me now as they did then.
As I begin to write my next novel I find myself exquisitely sensitive to the merest hint of criticism when I talk about what I’m writing. I’ve done an about-face recently and decided to finish an unfinished novel I started in 2001. Yes, I put aside The Goldsmith’s Daughter. Again. The scope of that story daunted me. And I found I was not happy to be back in that world as I was writing it. The title of my next novel is mbird and I’ve secretly delighted in and loved this magical world for 15 years. I am blissfully happy when I disappear back into it. Giddy, actually. Yet I find myself plagued with self-doubt when I think about the viability of this book and the potential criticism I might face even as I mentor/cheerlead all my writing students to just keep writing. No matter what. The fearless honesty of the article below made me realize, once again, how sensitive we are as writers, so easily wounded when we’re in the early stages of a book. Thank you, Irene Allison, for your timely words. You just gave me a large drink of courage this morning. I’m putting this out there as a first step towards silencing that loud, dominant voice of self-doubt.
Here is a link to Irene Allison’s blog post.
I’ve recently discovered the magnificent poetry of Marie Howe, State Poet of New York. I can think of no better Monday Morning post than to share her poem: ‘Beating the Monday Rush.’ It made me think about how often I tell my 7-year-old granddaughter Jazz to “Hurry, hurry, hurry…” If you listen to Marie Howe reading this short poem you, too might find yourself in her words… and relish the surprise at the end.
Here is a link to the article.