This application business is paralyzing me before I even start. All I can write are tiny little snippets, a paragraph, a tweet. Luckily there are some places that take tiny bits and bobs. And especially luckily two have been taken in (sea stories and the rejection piece).
All year, I've only written one piece longer than 2000 words. Not that writing needs to be long, I am just exhibiting a lack of discipline to stick to a piece. I keep hoping for this email or letter to show up that changes everything. Really: it would be nice for a bit of external validation. I know that's lame. I know I am supposed to have a crazy unshakeable ego about my work. I am not supposed to give two shits about what anyone else thinks. I know. I know. But if readers don't matter, every writer would just be content keeping a journal.
If writing doesn't move a reader, it has failed.
Ultimately, it feels like I am working blind, is what I guess I'm getting at. I have spent a couple of months now trying to teach myself how to do this, and more than ever, I wish I had some help. I lack any semblance of objectivity (can't in fact, even type the word without rolling my eyes), and could really use some clear indication that my writing is worth fighting my way into school for. I mean, besides my friends telling me they like it--when was the last time you told someone their kid was ugly?
People naturally support a struggle. Better to see someone trying than giving up no matter what, right? Even a Rudy at Notre Dame or that one crazy downhill skier from the UK is inspiring in their failure--you know, cause they just never! gave! up! So I get that people are supportive of my trying. And people who love me or even just like me are going to tell me to keep at it. (Except my mother, who would rather I give up and settle for the hand I've been dealt. Not rock the boat. Clean my plate, etc. She also says I am hard to love. So, I try to take her feedback with a grain of salt, true though it may be.)
My grandmother is an expert at passive aggressive compliments, telling you what a pretty smile you have, if you smile the way she taught you and not that ugly way you're prone to on your own, for example. I don't know what that has to do with, but somehow it's what I am doing to myself.
Here are some things I can't write lately:
- a piece about being teased in grade school for not owning cool clothes in, get this, purple. I swear, I started that brainstorm months ago--read the first draft outloud at that memoir workshop in August--but now it reeks of bandwagonism, even if I'm not gay and no one was actually bullied, just teased.
- something about the way my mother ate so much salmon growing up because it is what was available that now she hates it, which is what she did to me with hamburger. Something about the difference between a comfort food and a reminder of hard times food. About repeating patterns you resent, maybe? Or about making do with what you have? I don't know. I put a paragraph from that up on Alimentary's facebook page today, in honor of National Writing Day or whatever today was. Besides "spirit day", that is.
- that damned glacier essay. it is stuck in my throat, like a lie. I am considering getting that crazy NaNoWriMo toy that erases your words if you stop writing to try and force that one up. That app should be called Ipecac.
- the poor hummingbirds. they linger in the periphery like that giant pile of papers that you really need to get to but instead you let gather dust, occasionally knock over, and then have to restack.
- the bees. I might actually work on that tomorrow. It's new, so it has yet to disappoint me.