I took my first writing class yesterday. It was called Writing for Self Discovery. I felt so shy. I was nervous to read my stuff out loud. I was reminded about a book I had read earlier–Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art. In it, he talks about the difference between an amateur and a professional. An amateur gives in to fear. A pro pushes through the fear.
I have to turn professional. I have to keep putting one word in front of another, day after day, year after year. I’m almost sixty-seven. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. But fear of writing badly stopped me.
Of course, my early writing will be bad. My early paintings were downright embarrassing. I still shudder when I recall the barn Lynn commissioned me to paint for her parents. But I kept painting. And the muscles got stronger.
I will keep writing and expect to eventually get better.
The writing teacher, Maureen, writes poetry. I don’t “get” poetry. I think I’m too literal for poetry. If I were a poet I’d have to make all the lines rhyme.
Every morning I force myself to write three pages, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Some days I can barely think of anything to write. So I just start rhyming. Don’t do it. It becomes a sickness. I have a friend, Herb, who used to read signs backwards. He warned me NEVER to start doing that or I wouldn’t be able to stop. I texted him about my rhyming sickness.
Here is what he texted back to me.
“I thguoht id ekat eht emit ot ekam siht egassem emyhr. I deen ot ees a esrun ot kaerb em fo siht esruc.”
Three pages, with a fountain pen. When I begin to write about all the things I’m grateful for the writing flows and I can go on for even four or more pages.
Blah blah blahing away. I never go back to reread my morning pages. I started this practice in June. At that time we were still living in our Palm Harbor home. Then the summer of condo happened. Now we live in a high rise. I can walk to the library. And to my writing classes.
I haven’t felt like sewing at all since the move. I will keep my wool for a year. If I haven’t begun making purses again by next September, the bins get taken out of the closet. We need all the storage space we can find.
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