Dead Vegetables and More

26 May

I have been super lazy, haven’t I? For a little over a week now, I’ve taken a break from blogging to enjoy what I call a mental vacation. After a few months of semi-continuous posting, I was running out things I felt were worth of writing about and to be honest, I’m still in a bit of an inspiration slump. It doesn’t help that I have a bit of an emotional depression to match but today I’m peeling myself off the couch to start up again.

So to start with: dead vegetables.

Pitiful.

Let’s take a moment of silence in honor of the little plants that just couldn’t.

And now I will go on to say that I have no idea why they died. I suspect that hubs didn’t water them while I was away one weekend but otherwise, I don’t have any leads. They were looking promising for about one week and then this. Oh well!

Sometimes bad things happen and you have no idea what you did. I think often there’s no reason at all but I trust that their little plant souls are in soil heaven. We’ll try again next year.

Some happier news? I finished the rough draft of a memoir piece I’ve wanted to write for about a year and it’s now going through the peer review period where I take advice from some other writers about what things need to be tweaked. Some people hate critique but I love it.

My first semester studying creative writing was very hard on me. I couldn’t settle on what story to write, I wasn’t even sure if I had what it takes to interest someone in my writing. Every time I would start something, I’d inevitably go back and delete the entire thing, starting something else. Confidence as a writer can be a hard thing to stumble across. Of all art forms, I would say that writing enjoys the smallest audience so when you get commentary, you have to take it very seriously–both praise and criticism–because the reviewer could make up a significant portion of your readership. My biggest rookie mistake was being too attached to a story going into a workshop. I adored my first short story and when I went into class to discuss it with my peers, I thought it was my best work yet. The reactions from other writers in the room didn’t say the same and it took me awhile to really recover. In that class, we were asked to take the critiques we received and revise the story for our final grade. When I got alone with my story again, though, it was hard for me to see why I should continue with it. Other people’s opinions had completely changed my perspective on my work and instead of taking it with a grain of salt, I was just crushed.

Lots of other artists probably have a similar story, at least the ones who made it past the original mourning stage because some people quit right there. What usually happens after the crying and moping is a hardening process. You learn to love your story all through its creation and then separate yourself emotionally from the work before others see it. You create a balance in your mind between being self-critical and confident. You start to tell yourself that all great things start as small and unworthy and then you let it be molded and shaped by the firm hand of critique. When it’s refined and ready, you send it out again to be judged by the world and expect that plenty of people won’t understand it. Then, every once in a while, you get to see your work find a home and fans who love it. My instructors often compared the feeling to parenthood and I can see it.

Not everything that I start or even finish will turn out to be wonderful and praiseworthy. Some things will dry up for seemingly no reason at all. Still, I come back and try again because I know the next thing will be better because of my failure.

More tomorrow. 🙂

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