That Bitch!

She knows who she is. Such an overwhelming, selfish, pessimistic, whore! I can actually feel when she’s coming up behind me to peer lecherously over my right shoulder. It’s almost worse when she huddles in the corner, mumbling to herself just loud enough for me to hear. Her mere presence makes me physically ill.  Most people would be embarrassed, confused, insulted & furious about being called out in such a public forum – but not this woman! She basks in the negative attention & has an oddly placed sense of pride in those attributes that drive me to detest her.

Someday there may be a procedure available to have her “removed” from my life – permanently. But, until that time I’ll have to continue living with her as an integral player in my day-to-day life. Who is this woman you may be asking? Well, she just happens to be my own personal, one of a kind, annoying as all hell, inner editor. I recently read a book (Craft & Courage: Writing Your Life Into Story, by Barbara Abercrombie) – and she had an amazing suggestion visualizing what it is that causes your writers block. Then, assigning it physical attributes. By describing this mindset as an object she theorizes that it becomes less frightening. So, I’ve decided to give my inner editor a life of her own – in hopes of tackling & releasing this awkward unshakable grasp she seems to have on my creative juice.

It’s horrible that I can say with complete sincerity that my inner editor has a face & personality – it’s that of a 4-h leader from my youth. The woman was an absolute perfectionist & felt quite strongly that my penmanship was the most offensive thing she’d ever seen (keep in mind that I was 9). So, instead of nurturing & encouraging me while I steadied my pen – she would wrap her gigantic, callous encrusted fingers around my own, thus penning my journal entries in her own perfect script. My inner editors body is that of the woman enlisted to teach me how to swim. She was a gargantuan mass of woman, who favored mumus, clogs, and hair that didn’t appear to have been managed in no less than 3 years. . Both of these women intimidated the shit out of me and to this day hearing someone use either of their names gives me the chills! In hopes that both women have amended their ways, and in an attempt to allow them that fresh start I won’t mention their names, but I’ve decided that from this day forward I’ll be referring to my demonic inner editor as Agnes.

So here goes Agnes, starting today, I’m no longer intimidated by you. When I sit down & decide to write, you will kindly busy yourself with other tasks – only coming back to my work when & if I request your input. Your cooperation is expected, and appreciated.

~ m

Advertisements

The first step to recovery…

… is admitting you have a problem. Well, here goes… My name’s Megs, and I’m a writer. *whew* I feel better already. 🙂 This afternoon I met with a group of like-minded strangers. Our own little mish-mash of local flavor, getting together to help each other through the 12 step program of admitting, realizing, embracing & ultimately living with our addiction. Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be writing more, now that I’m accountable to others – not just myself.

I’m home now, sitting here, on my patio on this, the sunniest quasi-warm day we’ve had thus far this year here in my corner of the world. My patio is off the back of my hideaway apartment, overlooking Mt. Baker, her twin sisters, and their extended family of foothills & low lands. I’m surrounded by fresh air, green trees, tall grasses, and the amazing blue sky above – slowly melting into my favorite overstuffed chair after a long day at work, thanks to the assistance of Harvey (my trusty ipod) & a no longer full glass of cabernet sauvignon. Today is a good day. I say it’s quasi-warm in that this is the first day I’ve gotten away with wearing any less than a rain slicker & galoshes outdoors. But, please realize that isn’t at all a complaint. I’ve been blessed to grow up here in the Pacific Northwest, situated in a smallish town just a hop skip & jump from beautiful British Columbia – or a quick shimmy across the border if you happen to be working in some forms of “local produce.”

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a little girl & what started as short pieces of fiction regarding the whereabouts of homework, or reasons for missing class – soon transformed into poetry, research, interviews, and rants. Now I find myself most drawn to writing short personal essays that allow me a clearer view inside myself – granting me an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the situations, emotions, and issues that for whatever reason I’ve kept hidden inside. I’ve found that by continuously writing & critiquing these pieces – I’ve been able to grasp a much better understanding of who I am, where I come from, and who I’m meant to be.

One of my largest struggles in writing is that I have yet to find a way to turn off my inner editor. She’s a bitch who thrives on perfection, and just might have a slight tendency towards OCD – which is why she makes an outstanding editor. I just wish she’d evacuate the premises while I’m fleshing out the first few drafts of things. I’ve also been keeping a blog for the last few months – not updating it near often enough, but it’s an avenue I’ve found useful for developing a voice – not my only voice, but one of them. Perhaps that inner editor of mine has multiple personalities as well… hmmm…

Hopefully with this new commitment, I’ll be able to keep that inner editor at bay long enough to get at least a few thoughts down on paper/screen… for now though, I’m off to refill that glass, and contemplate dinner…

I’m not a virgin anymore…

Do you ever have those experiences that are either so amazing or horrific – you quite honestly don’t know just how to begin explaining them to someone?

This past weekend I lost my virginity, my writers conference virginity that is. For months I’ve been struggling – knowing that I love to write, I live to write, and I want nothing more than to be able to wring every drop of what makes me – me, out onto a page to share with the world. But, when I sit down, at my magic little desk in the corner – with a cup of tea (spiked most often), and some Bach… I quite literally run into a solid brick wall. One of those jagged ones you see while hiking in Ireland – so worn by the elements that instead of transforming into a smooth well worn surface they become like threatening knives – poking your leg as you walk by (or into them in my case).

I decided I needed some help, and while I have been seeing a therapist on the side (another story for another day), I opted to seek out others like myself – kindred spirits driven mad by the urge to chronicle anything & everything in their own unique way. Thus I found myself on Friday morning in the small town of Coupeville, Wa – sopping wet & anxiously awaiting the start of my first bonafied writers conference experience. I found myself (quite literally) bumping into a woman that shared a common thread with myself – an intense interest in personal essays, and for those with a longer story to tell, memoirs. From there, my day truly began & took off with no hesitation.

I often wonder how it is I can feel so complacent in my day to day life – knowing the people around me but at the same time not – and really, being quite okay with that. But, within moments of being immersed in this group of 300+ fellow word-sluts I found myself wanting to know everything about each of them (alright, maybe there were a few that I avoided… but only a few, & it was after all just one weekend). With the support of these others, like me, I was able to break into myself for the first time in months, if not years, and the things that came spilling (nay, gushing) out brought me to tears. Even the most profound writer could never encapsulate the emotion, relief, and ecstasy that I’ve experienced this weekend. I feel alive – like someone plugged me into a gigantic car battery & gave me a much needed jump.

On Saturday I had the amazing honor of meeting another woman, in the midst of a workshop that was sorely lacking in anything of interest to myself or her. It’s true what they say, misery does love company. Over the course of a few hours I learned more about her, her story, her life & that she was here to “pitch” that story – to sell herself in hopes of having someone (an agent) agree that yes, her story did need to be told & that yes, she should be the person to do it. I can’t tell you how nervous I was for her, and just then I saw her round the corner with a gigantic grin on her face & a thumbs up in my direction. She got it! Let me back up for a moment, her story (whew) it’s heartbreaking, but at the same time, one of a woman finding herself in her own way – a way of her choosing. I could have listened to her all afternoon, and can’t wait to read her works in print. She’s an inspiration to me – not only in pursuing my writing, but in my living.

Sadly the weekend did have to end. And while a relief to be home, with my dog & my life. Already I feel the wheels in my head turning. My goal now is to never let them stop, for fear of growing rusty & complacent. With this weekend I’ve realized that I do have a story to tell, my story, and it’s one that people will want to hear, whether funny or sad, emotional or crass – it’s mine & thus worth taking the time to write.

~ m