A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to take a writing course this summer. I feel like there's a lot of stuff inside me that I want to get out, but I don't feel like I have the tools or structure or discipline to do that. And I thought summer would be a good time to challenge myself and try to think in a creative and different way about things. Since I have been so into short stories lately, I signed up for a 9-week online short story class.
Of course, since work has been pretty exhausting this week, I am now struggling to turn in my assignment by the Saturday noon deadline. But I've been hammering out something and I think it might be ok. As I was writing it I was trying to be clever and symbolic and theme-y, and I fear that when I start going down that road the strings and seams are very evident, but that's why I'm in the class. Sometimes I feel so stunted and immature as a writer, which feels wrong since I read so much and feel like I should be better, just through osmosis.
I do love writing late at night, though. You want to know my ritual? After L goes to bed I sit at the desk and put on my headphones and listen to Adele's "Hometown Glory" a couple times. That song opens me up, man. It's so beautiful and reflective and mournful. It gets my juices flowing and helps me find the words. Then I skip around my itunes list, playing whatever slow, night music strikes me. The crazy thing is the visceral reaction some of these songs produce. Sometimes it will be Frou Frou or Coldplay or Jill Scott or David Gray or Erykah Badu -- and it takes me back, and it's just this rush of sense memory and it feels like I am 20 or 24 or 26 again, sitting in a different room with a different set of circumstances. Sometimes the only common thread is the love of a song. Sometimes it's a lot more. Either way, it gets me going and makes me discover a place where the words introduce themselves.
I am really excited about this writing class. I want to do it well. I think I have a gift that I've ignored for a while, and if there's one thing working full-time as a lawyer has taught me, it's that I have to hold on to every damn scrap and piece of myself that I can. Preservation of self, preservation of sanity.
Wish me luck.