Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My thesis is done, now it just needs to be printed and sent off to my mentor and second reader. 137 pages, mostly novel but a couple short stories. How do I feel? Numb, really. Ready to be done. The main reason I want to be done with my graduate program is because I feel as though the wild, unrestrained force of my creative has been chained and channelled. I feel as though I've lost access to that pathway down to the lava flow. I recently interviewed for Word by Word an author whose first book poured out of her in six weeks, and the characters are passionate, loud, intense, struggling. It's got lots of drama and intensity in it. In fact, as I read it, I kept thinking to myself, I didn't know this kind of book was getting published! It made me sort of irritated with myself, because all of my writing about the topics of my imagination are restrained.

The relationship between former alcoholic Ana and her grown daughter Penelope in my novel Shaky Grounds is muted. Ana has been sober a long time and she's done all her work; it's her daughter who's still pissed off. And in the new novel I'm writing, Thea can only briefly touch back on the dark facts of her life, in safe, sanitary little flashbacks. Am I walking the edge? Am I avoiding really going deep, or is it appropriate to have this kind of restraint? The fact is, unlike my novel Self-Serve, in which I wrote the first draft in one month...yes one month..."Strange but Familiar" is dragging itself out into being. I mean, I've got more than 200 pages, and albeit I've done a lot of revisions on the first 100 for Bennington, but I wonder where the drive is that usually keeps me pushing something out. All I know is that somewhere in the last year something happened to me, something unconsciously. It may have been after working with one of my most difficult professors, I don't know for sure, except that my writing lost its urgency and spontaneity.

I want it back, damn it. I want it back and I want it back soon, and I am going to find it, rekindle it, no matter what. But first, I needed to admit that it had gone away.



At 5:44 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

Wow. I can certainly relate to what you're saying here, Jordan. For me, the lack of urgency is coming from a fear of failure thus and unwillingness to fully commit. I'm working hard to get past this awful road block and (thanks to you and your excellent advice) I'm finally feeling as though I might be making some progress.


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