It is not uncommon for me to be a bit moody; and it’s also part of my personality to sometimes get excited about something, throw myself into it, and then reach a point where I’ve become somewhat unexcited and exhausted. Enjoy the journey, I remind myself.
It’s also not uncommon for me to go back and forth within myself and even without myself. I will often reject something first, then I’ll think about it, toss it around in my noggin, and I may come back around to the other side toward acceptance. Or, I simply may still not agree or reject this or that, but I will strive to find some sort of middle ground. I always try to see all the viewpoints that I’m capable of.
And so, as my short story writing class begins to wind down, I want to revisit my thoughts on the journey because I feel that I haven’t been fair and that my feelings have been highly personal and perhaps lopsided.
As a midpoint—and this is a whole separate issue that I could write about separately if I wanted to and I may. I have tried to practice a way of being specifically related to reacting to other’s issues and I am very sensitive to those that try to be fixers and helpers. Sometimes, a person needs to vent—to let out their feelings and sometimes a person wishes to put those feelings to a page. I don’t particularly like when a person reads something as if they need to offer a set solution or as if something is terribly wrong. I have caught myself many times where I have found myself saying, “You should…” or “Why don’t you…” But over the many years, I am finding myself saying these things less and less. I listen, I encourage. But I think it’s important not to use words that take power away from an individual and to be mindful of when we try too much to offer solutions when what a person may really want is an understanding ear to hear the person out, maybe even an “I know how you feel” type of response.
And so that is my midpoint. Let’s not try to be fixers of others but only of ourselves. And granted, some people like being told how they should feel or invite someone else taking on their problems. I do not. I just like writing about them—it’s one way that I can hear myself; and it’s also a way for me to process the rubble out of my mind. And if someone relates—that’s great.
Now, I shall bring myself back to my class. As I looked through the syllabus and the class discussion board last evening to see what the coming weeks have in store, that’s when it really became clear to me that the class will be over soon—in December. I’m surprised that it has moved along so quickly. I took those moments to look at what I gained from the class and I saw that there were two assignments that I’m looking forward to—they are essays rather than short stories—one essay is our account on an author that we went to see speak that had to take place during the course of this class and the other essay is a discussion of a handful of short stories that we’ve read from our book. We also have a few more scenes to work on and another workshop to do. I think we’ll be assigned to a new workshop group, which will be a nice change.
When I reread one of the short stories that came out of this class, I enjoyed it. I was slightly embarrassed at reading it because if I decide to post it here and I may, you might find familiar elements that have come up from certain blogs that I've posted.
I think what I have taken from this class—what has really stood out for me—is that I cannot see myself up at a podium speaking about my novel or short stories—I don’t actually have a novel, but I’m projecting myself into the future. That’s not my path. What I can see, though, is me up there at the podium with my children’s book in hand talking to the audience about what inspired this or that story and how I came to write children’s books and had I always wanted to write children’s books. This makes me think and realize that I haven’t ever been to a book talk for a writer of children’s books, so this will be on my list of things to do. I don’t even know if they are as common.
But, just the process is enough. I don’t really feel that I have a desire to publish other things as I once did, except here on my blog.
This class has made me realize that although at first I rejected the scene approach, I’ve actually grown to accept it and to realize and accept within myself that I do best writing short scenes, but sometimes the challenge for me is to imagine the scenes within the whole and to take them further. Sometimes, the singular scenes want to stay just that—a singular moment.
I also love the very first assignment we had which was to write a list of everything we are interested in and want to write about. This would be a list that we could come back to for inspiration and ideas, to add to. It could be a single sentence, a word, a place…as detailed or minimal as we wanted. This list allowed me to explore a moment I’ve wanted to explore for a long time. I did use a few ideas from that list, created scenes and received constructive feedback.
So I guess what I’m trying to tell myself is that I've gained more from this class than I’ve allowed myself to realize. My moods have been fluctuating lately and that’s not uncommon in general. I used to be a much moodier person; and I have no shame in admitting that my Cancerian sun Qualities contribute to that, along with my strong Leonian, and Arian influences. I can be a moody lion indeed! Roar!! And then I will scuttle inside my little shell and lick those wounds if there are any to be had. Of course there is also the quick temper that was mostly dominant in childhood. Can you imagine me, running in anger toward the wall and kicking it in, leaving a hole! My brother had upset me that day and I think I must have been who knows how old—younger than a teenager, perhaps right on the cusp.
But I digress…I’m gearing up for my next scene and what I appreciate most about it is we have broader choice in selection this time. On the whole, it’s been a wonderful class and it has reminded me to keep the images of the oak and the bamboo reed clear in my mind because as much as I love oak for all his strength and beauty, I aspire to be like the bamboo reed, bending and swaying through life’s winds—to maintain a sense of resilience and always readjusting along the way.