Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reading and Writing for 2011

Sometimes I just want to read. When left to my own devices, a weekend alone, I want nothing more than to stay in pajamas the entire time, book or Kindle in hand, cup of tea on the table, cat quietly at my feet. First of all, my cat's seldom quiet. She's always on the wrong side of the door. Second, I say this now because I'm writing this on the cusp of a new year, when the Pacific Northwest is cold, wet and dark. My inclinations are much different when the sun dances across my bed at 5:00AM and smiles on my yard until late into the night.

Last year, I all but abandoned my writing endeavors. I took stock of all the online writers' forums, workshops, conferences, writer's retreats, associations I had tangled around my pen and asked myself what was in it for me. I came up with a big, fat zero. I wasn't getting anything out of any of them. The associations, retreat coordinators and workshop sales people were all anxious for my involvement, as long as I kept writing checks. Of course, they never offered much encouragement for my writing, but such is the station of the contender. At conferences, there was always the big divide between those who were there because they'd made it and those who were they because they wanted to make it, making it meaning being published. Oh, and then there was the category of those who hadn't made it but were there with something to sell that would make other people make it.

Online writer's forums didn't work for long either. There was the small, intimate group I loved for so long. But the woman who ran the group was hijacked by her ego and decided she wanted to turn the group into a real money-making proposition. She also decided that her writing talent exceeded all group members, and we somehow became her underlings. As for Zoetrope, what good did it ever do to post anything there? Most of the people who critiqued pieces there were just trying to reach their quota so that they could post more of their work. I don't know how many critiques I got from people who didn't even try to hide that they hadn't even read my piece.

It got so that I couldn't write without a hundred people in my head telling me how to do it, how I couldn't do it, how I should slant it, how I had nothing to say that anyone wanted to read, how cliched I was. So, I took a break. Some journaling. Not much. A few articles for a dieting blog I write. Nothing consistent there. And I read a lot.

This year, I plan to continue reading a lot. But I want to write too. So much has changed in my life in the last 3 months that I have no idea what is going to happen this coming year. But I will continue to read books like I'm drinking from a fire hose, and those readings I will post here. Then, when it's dark and no one's watching, I intend to pull out my pen and write things straight from my head. My hope is that imagination will body forth the form of things unknown, and the workshop leaders, forum trolls and retreat councilors will no longer be heard over the distance of a year.