In which the writer is plagued by the supernatural

I don’t believe in magical thinking, and yet I find myself being careful what I say, in case my words somehow change the course of the physical or metaphysical world. I suppose that means that there’s a disconnect between what I think I should believe, and what I fear – I know I’m supposed to eschew the idea that my thoughts can influence events external to my own mind. However, I honestly fear that certain types of words or thoughts open doors to a mischievous universe that takes perverse delight in making us face what we most dread.

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Writing program!

I got into a two year intensive writing program for people writing books – fiction and non-fiction, though mine is fiction.

Emotions are high – I’m excited, I’m terrified, I’m confident, I’m plagued with self-doubt. The word of the week is vacillation.

I knew I wanted to do this, but I didn’t know how much I *needed* this until I got my acceptance. The need is similar to a compulsion, of which I have several – it’s that sort of feeling – like anxiety swirled with desire and sprinkled with just a tiny bit of queasiness. Looking at the first year’s curriculum is honestly terrifying – 9 classes and 3 weekend intensives.

I owe this to the 3-Day Novel Contest. It was last year during 3DN that I wrote the very first draft of my book – and it was one of those years that something magical happened. If the writing process in general is like driving through a traffic-burdened city, with lots of stops and starts and turns and merges, then 3DN is (if you do it right) like driving down a deserted desert highway in a convertible with the top down and your hair blowing everywhere.

In 2018, it paid off. I ended up with a story that…well, I have no idea where it came from. Characters just came to life, as if I swallowed inspiration and they all burst from my forehead. It was a strange experience, one I’ve had before but not for many years. It makes me understand the what the ancient poets meant when they said it was the Muses working through them. I felt as if I was merely taking dictation. The story wrote itself.

I had a feeling about that messy, complicated story that started to emerge. I worked at it months, developed a robust outline, turned in application and a writing sample…

And now, 1 year and 1 week after I began it, I will be formally beginning a writing program during which I will be doing a lot of skill-building and working toward having a complete first draft by next summer. Second year focuses on revising and editing.

I’m still a bit stunned. It feels so unreal – and I keep waiting for the universe to drop something bad on me to balance out the good. That’s how stories go, after all – the protagonist never follows a straight line. It’s obstacle after obstacle, it’s moments of doubt, it’s lots of questioning and sacrifice before they finally reach the end.

What challenges will come my way? Muses, gods, fates and faeries ~ be kind.

Milestone: Unlocked

A lot of graduate programs have this thing called comprehensive exams that you need to pass in order to get your degree.

I passed.

My last class is done in two weeks. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for – the moment I can recommit to writing as someone who is older and hopefully a bit more polished.

And the second Master’s is nice, too. I’ve been thinking about adding MA2 to the end of my signature.

Definitely DO rock the boat

There’s a thing I found on Reddit. It’s been referenced in a few forums I tend to frequent because it just so beautifully describes the dynamic between enablers and abusers. The title of the post is “Don’t Rock the Boat,” and it’s a reflection on that phrase, and what it is that people are really saying when they use it.

I wish I knew who to credit this to, because it so well-articulates how abusers/people who behave badly don’t always act alone or in a void. There are often people around them who are aware of their bad behavior, but make it their duty to be the stabilizing presence. It also reflects on how “boat stabilizers,” as this author terms enablers, come into existence – often, it can be within a family environment where there are multiple family members who work together to try to minimize the rocking caused by one person.

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What can you do with an English degree?

When I first had to grapple with this question years ago, I told people, “I can apply to law school!” I was, as a very young adult, skilled in the art of telling people what they wanted to hear in order to temporarily cover up my true designs. If I’d told them that I had no interest in law school, I would have been treated to many useless lectures that older adults tend to smother younger adults with. (I try not to do that myself, as much as I’d like to sometimes. They need to learn and grow on their own, and as much as I’d like to think I do…I don’t know everything.)

But if someone were to ask me today, What can you do with an English degree?, my answer would be this:

You can recover from trauma.

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A recommitment to writing

I’ve done over the past few months what I often do, which is turn inward. I always tell myself I’ll keep a blog going, and it’s not for lack of words and ideas that I don’t. It’s more just that introvert’s tendency to want to live in your own head, in your own private writings, in your own little world.

I’m recommitted to writing – not that I left necessarily, but I got distracted by other things for a while. Now I’m clearing those other things out of my life so that I can get back to that one thing.

That got me to thinking about why it look me so long to get here…

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