Monday, September 8, 2014

Reading, Writing and Scratching the Itch

Well, it's been one week since I blogged about getting back in the writing saddle, and I find I'm still struggling to straddle the obstacle of scheduling time.  In my defense, I did work 9-hour days T-F, and this week's plan is to hone those hours down so I can begin anew. Although I haven't yet sat at the keyboard (aside from copywriting hours), I awoke from 2-3:30 a.m. one night and spent it re-reading essays in my thesis manuscript. Something about that etherial time of night lends itself to imaginative meanderings of the mind, so I was able to sit with the pages I thumbed in my lap without judgment, but with curiosity. There are three essays with braided stories and my next task is to untangle them on Scrivener so that I can reweave the strands into something new.
My bedside pile of books and magazines

As always, deadlines help propel me toward my goals. I did sign up for the fall Writer's Inspiration + Support Workshop, which meets once a month for three months, starting Sept. 21. And there's a Sept. 22 deadline for a Creative Nonfiction contest on a theme that my particular story addresses:

For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about WAITING. We’re looking for well-crafted true stories of delays, postponements, and pauses that explore and examine our relationship with time.

In the meantime, reading (and hearing others read) also serves as inspiration. Recently I went to a Get Lit event at one of the wine bars in my town, Petaluma. Among the three featured readers were Stefanie Freele, whom I've blogged about, and Daniel Coshnear, whose fiction class I took four years ago and whose book, Occupy and Other Love Stories, I wrote about for the Press Democrat. I purchased a book from each, and have been reading and enjoying Coshnear's short story collection, Jobs and Other Preoccupations, which offers much food for thought for rethinking and revising my own short fiction. And last week I bought the cartoon memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a laugh-out-loud but poignant portrait of aging in America by New York Times cartoonist Roz Chast. So, I didn't write, but I spent an entire afternoon reading in the park.

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