Kay’s Journal: Falling in Love with Writing

Here’s what I’m writing about in my journal this week!

JV icon K Journal

I knew I loved writing even before I could write. From my earliest memories I adored stories and books–not just having them read to me, but an actual fascination with the container of them, the pages, the cover, the documentation and encapsulation of imagination. I wanted to be a part of their creation. I wanted to write books. I was three.

Lucky  me, I did grow up to be a writer. As much as I imagined myself a novelist as a child, my work has taken me down the nonfiction path–first journalism and then business self-help, personal self-help, and finally professional development. I’ve not written fiction. Frankly, it scares me.

There have been times when I dipped a toe in the water. In the late 1990s I wrote a short story, “The Dark Man and Other Dreams,” to recover from traumatic emotional abuse. (That story is documented in the essay “Making Up the Truth” in my book Scribing the Soul. ) I took a short-story class with Pam Houston, author of collections Cowboys are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and instead of writing three 10-page stories for critique, I wrote one 30-page story and it wrote me right out of the spiral of horror and terror I’d been stuck in for most of a year. Then I promptly lost the manuscript, and there was no back-up when the hard drive crashed.

Some years later I faced another emotional crisis. Writing had become a drag, a chore, something I was starting to resent. It had lost its magic. I yearned to fall in love with writing again. Somehow I ended up in a fiction writing group led by writing coach Deb McLeod, an extraordinary facilitator, and I wrote by hand on legal tablets the first act of a novel, Sausalito, a story of five people who wake up at midlife and realize their lives aren’t turning out at all like they expected. I completely fell in love with writing again, and the joy returned to my work writing. About that time the group disbanded, and I tucked 100 pages of neatly typed manuscript in a folder and put it on a high shelf.

Apparently I only write fiction when I’m having a crisis. But I like writing fiction and I think I could be good at it. So I decided not to wait for a crisis. My hairdresser, Laurel, is writing her first book and she told me she wanted to start a critique group. I said I’d join. We met for the first time last week and I’m getting critiqued next week.

I was planning on resurrecting Sausalito but became mildly obsessed with “The Dark Man” story and was making myself nuts because I couldn’t find the manuscript. (It did finally surface all those years ago, and I made copies, but they still keep getting lost.) Finally I had a brainstorm and I went to my closet and stared at the shelves. After several minutes I chose a box and got lucky: There it was, in the first box, underneath two black purses. And now, a rewrite and a retype later, its first ten pages are off to my critique group members for review on May 1!

 

Blog Apr 24

Revised manuscript, “The Dark Man and Other Dreams,” against backdrop of Kay’s increasingly crowded Gallery of Failed Pottery Experiments

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Your turn! What are you writing? Do you ever fall out of love with writing? How do you fall back in?

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4 Responses to Kay’s Journal: Falling in Love with Writing

  1. Judy Reeves April 25, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

    Kay I love your story of your on-again/off-again love affair with fiction. For the longest time I believed I couldn’t call my self a “writer” until I had published a novel. I dont believe that anymore. I love fiction, but now find myself writing a memoir-like thing. I fell out of love with it for about three weeks, but we’re smitten again. In fact, I have a date tomorrow morning. Third date this week.

    Good luck with your critique group and writing fiction.

    Judy

    • Kay Adams May 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

      Oooh, Judy, can’t wait to read your “memoir-like thing”! You’ve had such an interesting life. I’m still feeling like a newbie in this fiction stuff but now have an idea that won’t let go about converting both my short story and my novel to novellas and writing a third that will make a set. In my head it makes sense, but translating it through my fingers is HARD! But fun.

  2. Carol Roberts April 26, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    Right now I am writing (on my Kindle) through the journey out of my house, out of Nashville, basically out of my comfortable place into the move to California. I write every morning about how things went yesterday and how I hope they will go today. For my memoir, I am wondering when the poem will come. Underneath the details are hopes, imagination and wonder.

    • Kay Adams May 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

      Carol, all blessings and good energy for your relocation! You’re brave to leave the known and venture into the unknown — no matter how beautiful and enticing the “unknown” is, it’s still a big risk! Hope, imagination, wonder — great companions for the journey.

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