Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thinking of you who think of me

[FAIR WARNING: This post includes open letters of thanks, a Pollyanna-ish positive thinking manifesto, and more sincerity than I can usually handle one-on-one and in person.]

Oh, the days. It really was an odd sensation watching the first semester students at graduation and knowing they have two whole years of VCFA ahead of them. I'm not jealous . . . exactly. I got my time. I'm ready to be done with being a student for a while.

Which means I have to start working on being an author.

That is scary, but it's a lot less scary than it would have been two years ago. That's to do with my education, yes, but it's also to do with declaring myself as a writer -- and having the people I love respond with support and not with cackles.

No, but for reals, thank you for believing in me. Thank you, family. Thank you, advisors. Thank you, Super Secret Society of Quirk and Quill.

Thanks for the kind bloggy words from Cesar and Varian and Gwenda. Thank you, Rockstar, for the mixed tape. Thank you, [insert long list of friends which is sure to leave some important someone off and hurt said person's feelings] for being nice to me when I was stressed and for asking how this crazy distance learning thing was going and especially for ever even thinking of asking to hear my lecture. If you asked to hear my lecture, you are amazing!

If you asked? To read my novel? Amazing!

For the most part, I'm not ready for that. People like my family, friends who are like my family, I want you to read it when it's ready for the world, not half-cooked. It needs one more round of revisions before I'll feel good about sending it out. If I learned anything in grad school, it's that revision, rewriting from scratch even, is at the heart of writing. I'm giving myself a month for the novel to rest, then a month or so of revision, then it's out.

And I don't know what will happen, but I'm choosing to be all right with that. I talked with a writer friend lately about the weird double-bind of wanting to feel confident and secretly believing that confidence goes hand in hand with self-delusion. Evil double-think, I cast you out. I'm choosing to listen to the good things.

Please know that even when I self-deprecate, even when I demur, your support, your kindnesses, overwhelm me with waves of giddy, awkward awe. Every single person who has ever said one nice thing to me about my writing, I eat it up! I roll it around on my tongue and think about the taste of it for days. It embarrasses me. It makes me cringey-crazy, but it makes a difference. It's the only thing, I think, that lets a writer ever get the guts to finish anything, to send anything out into the world at all.

1 comment:

Varian Johnson said...

Okay, sounds like a plan. Take your month off, then get on it!