Just returned from a writers/editors conference at Rutgers University. What a well-conceived, well-organized event—a one day conference during which writers, editors, and agents mingle. And I was most impressed with the editors I met—all of them young and passionate, intelligent and thoughtful. They love books. They love good writing. And they volunteered a Saturday to offer encouragement, advice, and feedback. Trying to market one’s work can often feel discouraging, but the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature has found a way to make it encouraging. For that, I am grateful.
In exploring the poetry of my past, I am discovering a part of my writer self that I thought I had lost. I want to find a way to reconnect what I am doing now with what I did then. And it is happening. I just finished one last draft of my novel—now called, tentatively, New Moon Falls. As I revised, I found that part of my writer self from years ago—the part of me that wrote this poem:
I want to be the flexible person who goes with the flow, lays back, finds the silver lining, enjoys the moment. Instead, I have moods. I have sides, as in, “I have never seen this side of you” or “I do not like this side of you.”
Aging forces me to deal with limits I did not used to have. Once I could run without injury. Now, in the 50’s, I have injuries. And those injuries keep me from exercising. Exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins put me in a good mood. Lately, without them, I am in a bad mood.
I just finished (I say that loosely) a new draft of my novel.
I all but threw out the last draft and started over. The protagonist is the same, and her best friend—a sort of sidekick—remains. Other than that, the story morphed ahead several decades, and its focus became much smaller.
This writing process confounds me, yet I am in love with it. I spend so much time alone, mulling over words and phrases, wondering, “How would she really respond in this situation?”
Last summer I launched my website. It has paid off in ways I could not have imagined back then. People from around the world have visited, allowing me to make connections I would not otherwise have had the chance to make. The website has also allowed me to reconnect with friends from long ago. I am grateful for both opportunities.
All that said, I cannot seem to find my stride with this learning journal. While I had hoped to give it focus, I am not convinced I have succeeded. My original goal was to “document learning moments”—to “examine my own storytelling, as it hinders and helps me along my path,” but I now see that as vague and meandering—without a clear sense of direction.