Last Tuesday, I started a writing class at Grub Street in Boston. Called, Jumpstart Your Writing, it is a course designed to help get the creative juices flowing, helping students to cut out of their busy lives the space necessary to write. Our instructor asked the question, what can we live without in order to make space for writing? In order to write you need a place, a time, a discipline of writing without that, then writing won’t happen. Like anything we do in our lives if it is important then we will be intentional in doing what is required to get it done. Simple, not really, at least not for me. I procrastinate, I over process my thoughts and the one huge thing is my own fears. Jumping into the deep end is not something I do with the emotional self, so for me to take this course and then release my thoughts out into the open for all to see and read scares the shit out of me. Of course as I’m reading what I have just written I realize that once again I am procrastinating just a bit. What I wrote in the first paragraph happened a day or two ago then I stopped to think about where this piece was going to take me. Where it took me is still a mystery to me but now I’m back writing something. One of the things about this class is the various folks who are taking it, from the more polished writers, to some who have more than just dabbled in the creative process right down to me, a basic newbie trying to find his own style. I kind of consider myself the Charlie Brown of this group, not quite seeing what others see but being determined to do well in spite of oneself.
So I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and seeing where it will take me. Apparently there is some kind of reading thing that they do at Grub Street at the end of these classes where you get to read one of your creations and let others hear as well as critique your work. Yes, just the very thought is making my heart race and my palms sweat but then again, like anything that’s worth doing, it might just be the best thing I can do as I continue on this new venture.
Yesterday was the 100th day since I was hit by that car door. It has been a long 100 days where I’ve experienced some deep moments of darkness as well as moments of grace and love. It’s hard for me to believe that when I was struck down the unofficial start of summer had just past, Memorial Day. Now as we slip by the unofficial end of summer with Labor Day I cannot believe that my summer is over as we move toward the cooler months of fall. In a way it does sadden me that I have lost this past summer unable to do the things I love to do, especially cycling. Yet, in a strange way this down time has given me the gift of patience and fortitude. I shall not slip off into that dark night quietly or just ride off into some future sunset, life is way too important just to give up. During this time of rehabilitation I have been doing a lot more reflecting and thinking about where I am and where I hope to be some day. Tomorrow evening I will begin a six week writing class at Grub Street, a writing school down in Boston. I’m taking what is called, Jump Start Your Writing, which I hope does just that helping me to focus more and to find that elusive writing voice. This is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I have taken a few other courses one that pushed getting published, way too much for the introvert that I am, and another online course that helped me to begin experimenting with various genres. In my blog I have experimented a bit with some fiction and non-fiction as well as played around with words. Some of the writing is okay while some of it is not, but I’m really not doing this for any kudos but more as a way to work out the psychological kinks that inhabit us all.
It’s really not that easy vomiting out ones inner most fears and weirdness onto paper, in this case my iPad, but I think that is what many authors do letting the chips fall where they may. My own introversion acts more like a prison warden than a gatekeeper as I re-read a passage and that, not so still or small voice, screams at me that this is just pure shit and I shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time with this drivel. It’s kind of like what I read would be hell for my Myers-Briggs typology, INFP, where all my inner most thoughts were put on display on some huge screen and thought to be insipid and colorless. Yet, here I am plunging into the deep-end unsure if I will be able to keep my head above the surface and not drown in a sea of fear and doubt.
Regardless of what may happen or where I go with my writing I know I go with a new sense of my own inner strength. Like retraining my leg muscles to work correctly again, which looks to be a long process, my writing will also challenge me in new ways and also will be a long process. I’m definitely under no illusion of becoming the next best selling author, but I am beginning to believe that I am a writer. By admitting that much I am also admitting my own weaknesses as I plunge head first into this world, a world in which I have only nipped at the edge but now fully immerse myself into. Is it scary, hell yes, it is, but really what choice do I have.
Vacation, a term used to denote a time away, a period of relaxation so as to recharge and refresh oneself to face the rigors of post-modern life. The root word is, vacate, to leave a place empty. It has been 90 days since the accident and this is the first time that Jane and I have been able to get away from Melrose. Not that I have anything against Melrose, it’s just that we had to get away. Away from the calls reminding me of my physical therapy appointments, away from the reminders of that fateful day, away from the host of issues that plague parish life. It is good to be away, to see places we have not seen to experience something new. It’s not one of our most exciting adventures, since I am unable to do any outdoor cycling we have to restrict ourselves to walking about and driving to what we want to see, but at least we are together. In fact, if I am to be truly honest with myself, this should prove to be one of our most relaxing times away. I’m not overly stressed with planning to get in that early, sunup, bike ride. We can actually enjoy the evening out. I’ll have a few beers Janie will enjoy a glass of some fine upstate New York wine we may even take in a little evening stroll, well stroll as well as I’m able considering. We will have that rare chance to sleep in a bit without having to walk the dog and then have a leisurely breakfast before planning our day. So many folks came back from vacations claiming they need a vacation from their vacation. We are so busy and stressed that the idea of relaxation, true relaxation, is an anathema.
Trust me, after spending the past 90 days getting to the place where I can walk without assistance and get around without the need for heavy duty pain killers, this time is precious. I will enjoy myself, we will come back refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes our way. My cycling will return. My life may never get back to those pre-accident days, but I will heal and get stronger.