It has been a whirlwind of a week, consumed by many non-writing activities, the most annoying of which involved standing by while my extremely patient and long-suffering husband (who also happens to be our house’s IT department) got to the bottom of a virus problem that had been plaguing my computer.
You’d think that would make me feel gray and rainy, but it hardly put a dent in my good mood. Here are the sources of the sunshine.
1) I found a writing partner. Or, rather, she found me. This reminded me of one of those situations where an extremely skillful salesperson alerts you to a need that you didn’t even know you had.
When her e-mail arrived with the brief and intriguing title of “free?” I opened it immediately. It was to the point: “What are you up to for the next couple of hours? Do you want to meet somewhere to write and edit quietly together?”
The thought of sitting quietly with another writer and working on my craft had never even entered my mind. Writing has always been a solitary pursuit for me. Even when I was hired to do it and worked in an office, I would always shut my door when I had to get down to the actual writing. But something made me respond to this e-mail in the affirmative. While I wasn’t available right then, we decided to meet a few days later.
Before we settled down to write, we had lunch and talked a bit. We discovered that we share a fictional sensibility. We like many of the same authors. We enjoy the cadence and what I think of as the “taste” of language: the poetics, the feel of the words—sometimes at the expense of plot. About halfway through our salads she asked, “So… do you think we should exchange manuscripts?” Again, without knowing exactly what I was agreeing to, I answered definitely and immediately “yes.”
Hours later, she had e-mailed me a copy of her manuscript. She is further along with her work-in-progress than I and needs immediate feedback (for a publishing deadline!) What I have read so far confirms my intuition that we are well matched as readers and editors of one another’s work.
Having made this commitment gives me yet more momentum toward finishing my first draft. Which leads to ray of sunshine #2.
2) ROW80 update for the week: I didn’t miss a single day of writing Thursday-Wednesday and pumped out 6,100 words, whittling my goal amount down to about 20,000. And I wrote 1,500 of those 6,100 sitting across from my writing partner in a cafe… proving to myself that I don’t need to be in solitary confinement to work.
3) Someone thought I was worthy of sunshine. Thanks to the delightful Joanne Phillips, who graced me and four others with a Sunshine Award. When she did this on May 3, I was feeling anything but sunshine-y, having just written two gnarly blog posts about my Facebook travails. The weather looks better all around now.
So here, briefly, is my tip of the hat to the award, which—in Joanne’s slightly shortened version, stipulates that a recipient should:
- Write five things about yourself
- Include the award’s logo in a post
- Nominate 5 other bloggers
- Link to your nominees
- Link the person who nominated you
Five things about me: 1) I have a postcard of Picasso’s “Cat Catching a Bird” hanging on the wall in front of my computer; 2) I have a piece of paper that says “Not everything requires a response” hanging directly in front of me at my workspace; 3) I drink about 5 cups of really strong tea every day; 4) I become extremely irritable when overtired; 5) I usually experience a deep existential crisis every two or three years.
And now to spread the sunshine… wait, this is hard! Two of my favorite blogs, The Write Transition and Kourtney Heintz’s Journal have already won. Somehow passing the award back and forth like a cold sore doesn’t seem right. Can I get a break and list just three? Of course I can. Who’s going to slap my wrist?
- TeacherWriter – Because: couldn’t we all use a good teacher… and she’s one of the “nice” ones
- Cyd Madsen – Because: the blog subtitle is “Diggin’ Story, Lovin’ Language” AND Cyd has great taste in WordPress themes
- Short Little Bits – Because: I wish I’d come up with this idea — “Five minutes of daily writing in the raw.”