Wednesday, December 09, 2009

je suis un auteur

Big Little Wolf has pointed out to me that Saint Nobody (aka Ste. Nadie) is available on Qui sait?

She's also graciously included me on her "holiday book pick list" along with The Shipping News, Jeffrey Eugenides' short stories, and Francis Ponge, published on the fabulously titled a Femme d'un Certain Age.
Joyeux Noel, vraiment!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

that can't-do attitude

It happens every semester. The Overload. The Swamp. The crush of student writing to respond to, all of it deserving of careful time and attention. I don't want to let them down, which adds to the sense of impossibility. But it does always get done somehow...

Now, though, it's a battle against the forces of Can't. The militia of What Were You Thinking? The special forces of Here We Go Again.

Reinforcements welcome!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

my first interview...

Last spring, Samuel Lloyd interviewed me for the online version of Southeast Review, published at Florida State University. It's very cool to have it published--now everyone from students to my parents can see what I have to say about the writing life (for what it's worth). And I admit I'm hoping it will bring a few more book sales--keep them trickling in! I thank Samuel for his patience (he had to wait four months for me to answer his questions), as well as Julianna Baggott (the online contributing editor and one of my writing heroes), for setting things in motion.

You can read it here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

back on track

It's time I reminded myself how essential writing is to my general well-being. Not just because it can be therapeutic to "journal," but because writing is my medium, my passion, my vocation, the art form I am trying to master or at least practice consistently.

While I haven't been posting here, I've been reading other blogs and marvel at the consistency and clarity of these writers. One of them, Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy, is like a magazine with posts that are funny, touching, helpful, and cogent every day.The author D.A. Wolf's post from yesterday is amazing in articulating the fear of not being able to articulate. I have read few accounts that are so honest and accurate about writer's block, guilt, grief, fear, self-recrimination, being overwhelmed, the power of rage to sidetrack us, and trying to parent--because we haveto parent--despite it all.

It's hard for me to put my inchoate thoughts and feelings into a form that I feel comfortable sharing with "my public" (however small that may be). It's not just about privacy and self-disclosure, it's about the writing itself, the feeling that it must be of a certain level to post here, and the inability at the moment to put in the time or effort that it takes.

Right now, it's crunch time at FIT (as in most academic institutions), and for me that means a desperate attempt to catch up on the seemingly insurmountable responding and grading that the students in all four of my writing classes need right now. It doesn't help that I've been dealing with a difficult Personal Situation (sometime I'll post about it on my new blog, which hasn't really started up yet) that has sucked up my energies and added to the sense of behind-ness.

This morning, looking out at the trees outside my "study" (first ever! my own little alcove for working, writing, dreaming, filing--urgh) and the brick two-family attached homes across the street (so like the one that houses my second-floor apartment), I actually got out the pink spiral bound notebook I'm supposed to be using for the erstwhile morning pages. I had been gearing up to write about the Personal Situation, to explore, get down, and somehow unravel all the roiling, looping thoughts and feelings that have washed around my brain for awhile. Yes, it helps. Yes, as I always tell my students, I discovered things I didn't expect to. Yes, it is a key to health and peace and productivity.

But yes, Stella is home from school for the fifth day this week--she has been suffering from a nasty cold, and I thought she needed an extra day to recover--so I could very easily be waylaid. Right after I put Bobby on the bus, I poured my coffee, went to my desk, and started writing. I put aside the dozens of students waiting for my comments on their poems, essays, and short stories--the screaming, steaming pile of guilt, and wrote. I knew I would be much better able to concentrate on the teaching if I got this out of the way first. I had a good hour or more before I heard her footsteps.

I have to keep at this process no matter what. I must prioritize it again, start over with the good intention, daily if possible, we shall see, we shall see.

Now to my students! (who are wonderful and have been extremely patient)