i’m writing, i’m writing.
i have been writing a little less for this blog and writing more science and speculative fiction lately, and it’s exciting. i do want to develop this into a space where i can share new fiction and poetry as regularly as blog posts.
i’m writing. ideas come into my head fully formed, characters crawl out of the shadows with attitudes and understandings that seem greater than and/or counter to my own little grasp of the world.
i hired a writing coach, a science fiction writer i respect. she expects 20 pages from me a month. that seems like a spectacular amount. i would be daunted, except i know i have often generated that much content here. and actually, i am still daunted. i am realizing how vastly different it is to write these reflections versus writing fiction.
the characters don’t belong to me like these thoughts and stories here. they have their own histories, often in their own utterly alien worlds. i have to be more vigorous than i have ever been to tell their stories well.
i am voraciously consuming as much art and speculative writing as i can, at every opportunity. last week i went to see nico muhly’s opera ‘two boys’ at the met and was touched by the juxtaposition of the dramatic, familiar beauty of opera wrapped around the tender reductionist communication of teenage chatting. the whole thing felt deeply ambitious, and necessary – brave even. applying this aged art form to this moment creates more possibilities for how we can understand the dramas and longings of our own lives. the present as a gorgeous and operatic landscape? yes. and i was thinking of how i have fallen in love through long distance instant writing more than once, and again quite recently. how much of ourselves and our safety and our passions can now be revealed in these digital missives, reshaping our lives.
i also immersed myself in wangechi mutu’s work at the brooklyn museum. she makes these larger than life images of women’s bodies that simultaneously disturb and delight the mind. i went with a good friend and her toddler son, and it was amazing to watch him recognize the images, ‘owl, snake, eagle’, while what i saw was ripe vulva, mid-trauma, internal narratives, danger, freedom. watching her film ‘the end of eating everything’ with santigold on a full wall was remarkable.
both of these artists are in realms of their own imagining – i am excited to be alive at this time to see their work, and excited by the challenge of creating in a field that contains such brilliance.
now, when i see people after any period of absence, they ask how the writing is going. i notice the reactions this pulls out of me. if i have written that day, i smile, i feel the ease of doing part of my life’s work, i speak about a story i am in the midst of. if i haven’t written that day i feel a defensiveness, a tightening, a pressure. how can you ask me about such a deeply personal thing??…except that i have thrown myself onto the stage. it is a rough thrill to be out in the open with this flagrant desire to write for my living. it feels like jazz hands before the music starts playing. vulnerable, naked, bold, precocious, deeply humbling.
and regardless of how it feels, whether it comes easy, if i feel up to it, my joy over what’s coming out, or my surprise because so far none of the stories are what i expected, regardless of all of that, with a palpable thrumming gratitude that reverberates under all of my days, i am writing.