Game of Lost and Found

August 14, 2011

I haven’t posted on here in over a month! Bad writer, bad! But I did make the wonderful end-of-semester switch from being annoyed with the summer prose workshop to being so glad that I had the sense to sign up for it in the first place.

I sincerely learned so much from that experience. Since then, I’ve been reading like a fiend, trying to absorb as many books as possible before the fall semester begins. I also completely switched my fall course-load. I had initially signed up for an autumn from hell: a composition theories course and The History of Rhetoric. Both are necessary for the Rhet/comp certificate which was my initial goal when I signed onto the MAE program at NKU.

Between the massive growing up as a writer that the prose workshop initiated, and my volunteer work at First West Women’s Writing Conference, I decided that passion has to trump practicality. I think every major career/educational mistake I’ve made has been a result of an attempt to be more realistic. But to hell with that. Dream big or GTFO.

There is always something magical about a group of women getting together to teach one another new things and encourage each other’s work. First West was a beautiful success in that regard, so much so that in addition to volunteering next time, I plan on attending the workshops. I couldn’t really afford it this summer, what with my lack of work and dwindling resources, but thankfully all that is beginning to improve.

Explanation of First West. Basically, Kentucky was once called The First West, back in the days of the infancy of the United States. One of the creative writing professors at NKU, a delightful and exuberant poet, started the conference back at the university she was working for before joining the faculty at NKU (at least I think she was responsible for its creation). I feel incredibly lucky to be enrolled in her Teaching Creative Writing class in the fall.

Speaking of being excited about instructors, I ditched comp theories because it seemed overkill to be taking two courses related to teaching, concurrently, and I wanted to have some fun. I haven’t yet taken a literature course, and since we need a historical (pre-1900’s) course to graduate, it seemed like a good idea to sign up for the one that is being offered. The professor who is teaching that is our resident Moby Dick scholar, and I had the pleasure of hearing him speak for an hour about a trip he took to the Pacific Northwest, to learn more about whaling in the area, and to collaborate on a book with an artist friend of his. He is a masterful storyteller and I look forward to learning about Henry James and Emily Dickinson under his tutelage.

I already have some ideas about projects that I can do related to Emily Dickinson, and I think my NaNoWriMo attempt this year will revolve around her, and if not her directly, then someone based on her. The lit class will be so helpful in researching that time period and the language nuances of that century.

And Scurvytown, what of that? It’s been sitting in the shadows, lurking in the back of my mind. I keep getting ideas for new projects and then having to remind myself that novelty is a shiny distraction, and I have to write down the new project ideas, and remind myself that if I want to get all swept up in writerly epiphanies, I should try to re-direct them to existing projects. Learning to shut out distracting shiny things is clearly a major part of the writing process. Or at least, write them down and let them collect some dust while current projects are completed. Then they can attention whore in my brain all they want.

What Scurvytown needs is really a complete overhaul. What I have at the moment is a decent outline for what really happens. I need to consider which characters are best deserving of their own storylines, and stick to the new format that I created for the “episodes” because of the prose workshop feedback that I received.

Right now, I am journaling much more, maybe not every day, but at least every few days. And until the semester begins, I’ll have my nose stuck in a good book, trying to get lost and find my way out again, which incidentally, is my favorite part of navigation: a game of lost and found.

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