Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday +/-

This dog has had a long week.

First, the not-so-good from the last few days: 

- My ITB is still giving me some trouble. I've been running three miles every other day and that seems to be as far as I can go before the outside of my knee begins to feel sore and pained. I've been good about stretching and yoga, making sure to ease myself back into running (avoiding hills, no speed work, etc), and letting my body recover as it needs. Still: it's a frustrating situation.

- I'm taking a creative nonfiction workshop next semester and so I've been playing around with potential essays, hoping to be somewhat prepared when classes start. All this has resulted in is me feeling like a terrible writer and a fraud. Which are feelings that every writer has to work through, but knowing that doesn't make me despair any less.

- This past week it was so cold my scooter wouldn't start, so I worked from home for three days straight and was reminded how hard it is to focus at home because the damn dogs bark so damn much. People with kids: I don't know how you do it. 

And now, for the so-so-good! 

+ Classes start next week, which means my classmates and friends have been trickling back into Wilmington these last few days. It's been exciting to watch everyone come home.

+ I've had a really productive week, thanks to my goals and intentions for 2012. Chatting with friends who are far away, cooking awesome dinners at home, working on my writing every day, spending less time with the internet and more time with print. I hope I can keep this up for the next twelve months! 

+ I've been to the YMCA almost every day, and I am so glad and grateful to have an awesome gym just a mile from my house. I have a feeling that place will be the thing that keeps me sane for the next few years.

+ I just started reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro, an author who specializes in the short story and who I really, really love. While books this good don't make me feel less like a fraudulent hack, they do give me something tangible to which I might aspire.

Overall, it's been a quiet and restorative week. Which is nice, considering the semester is about to start and I probably won't see "quiet" and "restorative" until, oh, May. Hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to a lovely weekend!


  1. About a year ago, I did a creative nonfiction workshop where the instructor (whose name I can't recall at the moment, which is really frustrating, because she was amazing) had us start by meditating for a few moments on a powerful emotional moment that we might want to write about.

    Then, we worked on simply describing the scene. Everything from facial expressions to the color of the furniture. Just setting the scene as though writing a treatment for a script/screenplay. Then we paused to reflect again, and then added dialogue (if any). We recreated the dialogue as authentically as possible. Not necessarily with every pause or stutter, but the way it might have been rendered in a script. (No, this wasn't "creative nonfiction for screenwriters," the instructor was just having us work on painting a picture).

    After we'd done all this work of description and setting the scene and writing authentic dialogue, we then built the essay around that scene.

    Not sure if that will help, but it worked for me.

  2. Try having a kid and two dogs. :)

  3. I've missed your +/- lists, so add one to the + side for today's post!  I'm bummed to hear about your ITB--that really stinks, but it sounds like you've been taking care of it.  Fingers crossed that it heals fast and you can get back to training for a race.

    And three cheers for productivity!  I've had a really productive week working on a grant.  There is something really powerful about working on a written project every day.  It keeps the momentum high, which I think helps you power through the tough parts.

    Happy Friday, my dear.  xoxo

  4. The best writers I know of, even published mega-famous ones, never stop questioning their ability. It's what makes you a great writer and not an arrogant artiste. You are a great writer. Get used to it. 

  5. Thanks, Allyson! This is exercise sounds great and I will definitely be giving it a shot next time I'm stuck... which will probably be very soon!

  6. And you still get so much done! Amazing. :)

  7. Momentum is key! So is having a solid deadline. Good luck on your grant!

  8. Aw, shucks. Thanks. I needed that!