Apparently the months have crept on. One of the odd experiences I’ve had these years, be it pandemic-related or no, is an inconstancy of time. A day doesn’t pass that I don’t wonder if it’s Fall or Winter, January or June, let alone the date. I’m always feeling like some old record player whose needle has been put down on the wrong track.
In January, which I do strongly recall, I graduated on a rooftop in Rome from my MFA program at VCFA. It was a fantastic experience, yet one one which justified all the reasons why I did the degree in the first place: I need something to write for!!
Well, six months later and I’m back to submitting short pieces, back to working on long pieces, and back to the rigamarole of disappointment, disgust, and ennui.
All that said, I just attended a novel retreat that was quite fantastic, primarily to help articulate all the old rules that aren’t visible when there’s a course deadline:
- There is no deadline. The deadline is death; write until crossed.
- The artistic life is one of self-care, compassion, understanding.
- The commercial life is one of demand, doubt, and justification.
- There is a realistic approach to combining 2 and 3 but it is not obvious, especially in the hour-by-hour experience of artistic pursuit.
- Love the process. There will be more process after success or failure.
- You are not alone in doing this crazy thing.
- You are crazy but blessedly brilliant! (and an acquired taste!)
- Your fans may not be your family and friends.
- Structure to writing is helpful despite your best arguments.
Anyway, the last few months have not been without breakthroughs and new invigoration, still I lament the structure of mentor and workshop submission.
The good to great news is that the end is in sight. I have a few hundred pages, and while most of those need to be rewritten, I can see Einstein and Freud bringing the magic home. Better yet, I am hopeful at finding a few historical confluences that send it over the top. I’m shooting for fall, but do so knowing that life is short and the art takes for fucking ever.
The workshop was run by Connie May Fowler who is planning a number of upcoming workshops. She is accomplished, warm, forgiving, and encourages a loyal following wherever she goes. I can’t recommend her mentorship enough.