Ah, possibility. Which spoke to choose?
Words + art
Almost all of us, whether involved in a creative endeavor or not, find concentration elusive these days. Even those blessed with circumstances that allow us to weather the pandemic in relative ease are not immune from the world’s collective grief. And that is a hard place to be.
This challenge has led me back to a pursuit I began as a teenager and abandoned for a long time: combining words and art. The non-linear act of arranging images and words on a page opens the mind in a different way than writing, allowing for insights unreachable through words alone.
Status update update
Combing words and art*, and having the patience to sit for some weeks with the uncertainty about where to go next, did yield some clarity. A short story reared its head, demanding to be turned into something longer, bigger, stronger. A novella? A full-length novel? We’ll see.
And another short story has turned itself into something. Last November, I wrote for 30 days straight, drafting short stories (I called it NaSSWriMo instead of NaNoWriMo). I shared the results and asked readers to choose which I should work on first. In January, I began on one of the top picks, then titled “A Man Sits Alone in a Room,” about an amateur astronomer who discovers that the stars of the Seven Sisters constellation are disappearing. I had intended to share the story first with readers and followers, but wanted to polish it before I did. So I submitted it to Sixfold, a reader/writer-judged competition that provides feedback. To my surprise, the story, now titled “Unobserved Absences,” placed fifth overall, entitling it to publication. You’ll see the story in its final form in the summer edition of Sixfold.
Watch this space for more on both projects.
*I did manage to write a “typo” (or is it a “write-o”?) into the collage. Can you find it?
Have you rediscovered an old passion to get you through challenging times? Let me know in the comments.
Writers: Join me for an exciting new fall writing workshop
Do you have a story waiting to be told?
In 2016, my lifelong friend Jennifer Browdy and I conceived of a workshop that used birth as a metaphor for the writing process. The idea took form as a three-hour offering combining her expertise as a memoir teacher and insights from my work as a birth doula and writer. We were honored to teach it together at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California (back in the good old days when such things were done in person).
We reprised the workshop virtually in 2020 for Shuffle Collective’s Weekend of Words. The response was so positive that we decided to expand it into a nine-month online offering, which we are presenting for the first time beginning in September. We would love to have you join us. Registration details are coming soon.