For my writing class I’ve been trying to push my way through a short story that I started almost three months ago, and my brain also refuses to move forward on a simple one-page novel synopsis. All summer I’ve been unreasonably unhappy and have whispered excuses to my subconscious: it’s not your fault, you’ve been working so much, this isn’t the right idea, it’s just a first draft, step away for a bit and come back with fresh eyes, and on, and on. Certainly those things are all true for writing, but there is some other block holding me back from all this: a surprising lack of interest in writing fiction.
After hearing several speakers this weekend at the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference, and getting to speak to one of my favorites–the wonderful Alexandra Fuller–I’ve decided that the problem lies in my attempt to write something that I don’t want to write. Every good idea that I think I’ve had has not been a story, and I’ve had no interest in creating characters who don’t exist. I’ve taken good ideas and strained my brain to imagine ways to turn them into fictions, and dreamed of relaying my great epiphanies to the world through short stories and novels. Perhaps I do have this talent somewhere in my being, but for now I’d really just like to focus on writing what is real.
The notepad in front of me holds a scribbled list of thoughts that could be made into a essay for a Lit class. If I want to write compassionately and with honesty (as Ms. Fuller instructed me to), these are the thoughts that I must explore, research, and form into something for myself. One thing I’ve learned in the past few months is that a writer can’t be good unless she is writing for herself–if the stories we tell and the characters we create don’t interest us, why should we assume that they would interest anyone else?
Well, sorry dear readers for the delay in writing. The past few weeks have been a bit dreary for me. My dear love Matt and I parted ways after a year and a half of ups and downs, and he is away facing his fears and hopefully finding a way to truly take care of himself. I’m left (not to be too mopey) by myself to pull the pieces back together. It’s been two weeks since the end began, and I think it’s only just now hitting me how sad I am to be alone. I’ve lost a person who caused me much sadness, but who I also enjoyed spending every day and great memories with. Although I knew the end was coming, I’m still grieving the loss in many ways.
In other news, I have never been more thankful for a sweet dog and for good friends that I can call all the time. I’ve talked through the events with friends and family, and I am now sick of the whole sad story and am eager (although it’s hard) to just move forward. The worst is over, I know, and break-ups stink, but somehow life goes on. I hope that writing here will be a helpful tool in feeling connected to the people I love. I love sharing my life with you all, thank you for being part of it.
I started working on my second assignment for my creative writing class–a short story–almost a month ago. It still isn’t finished and I’m highly dissatisfied with it, so I decided to move on to another assignment instead. This poem isn’t autobiographical at all, I just started to imagine a life this way and what it might be like (so nobody needs to worry about me and Matt based on this poem, we are doing great).
A Reply to EBB
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
For one–you refuse to listen to my solipsistic bitching,
And all other bitching besides.
For two–you’ll walk away from all this, or so you threaten;
But I know that you wouldn’t demand retribution.
For three, you stopped helping with all the work;
Probably because I scolded your imperfect labor.
And so it will be, that when I am good to you, so will you
Be good to me;
And that is where I’ll stop counting.
I’ve shared with some of you that I recently developed a very annoying dairy allergy. I’m sure that I could look back to stomach problems in the past and see that this was coming, but one day a month or so ago my body decided to fully reject all dairy. So, for now I’m eating dairy free as much as possible, and will hopefully start exploring what my body can handle sometime after the initial madness has settled down (I’ve been told by some that goat cheese doesn’t bother everyone, nor does aged cheese in some cases).
But for now, I’ve invested in a great book called The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen from which I made tonight’s dinner: chicken salad. A very simple recipe really. You boil the chicken then let it cool, whisk together some dairy-free yogurt, honey, apple cider vinegar, poppyseeds, S&P, grapes, toasted pecans, cilantro, green onions, and celery. When the chicken cools you dice it up and stir it all together. We put ours in wraps with a bunch of baby spinach tonight. And then we fried some tortillas for a side dish.
First of all, thank you to all of you for your encouragement in my writing. It is so wonderful to have support from friends and family!
Secondly, we went on our first big hike yesterday (me, Matt, Hank, and our friend Craig), and the weather was beautiful. This has been the strangest and mildest spring that I have experienced in Idaho, and I have no complaints. Normally you wouldn’t be able to hike to Pioneer Cabin (you reach the cabin by walking down the trail another two hundred feet or so) this early in the season, but for us it was 75 degrees and sunny. That sounds nice, but truthfully the rapid snow melt and warm days put us in danger for wildfires later in the summer. As much as I love this weather and how green everything is right now, I’m praying for lots of rain so we can enjoy the rest of the summer.
I didn’t have my fancy iPhone panorama app with me, so I did some splicing the old-fashioned way (with Microsoft Paint!). If you click on the photo it will get bigger and prettier for you.