At AWP this year, the social media panel suggested that being consistent timing of one’s blog posts was critical. Hence, my multi-week blog post hiatus. Did I simply have nothing to say? Of course not. Were all the recent movies not worthy of comment? Nonsense. (The Avengers, Men in Black III, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman—plenty of opinions on them all.) Didn’t read any good books? (How about: To Kill A Mockingbird, John Crowley’s Four Freedoms, Tom Perrotta’s The Abstinence Teacher, Scharra’s The Killer Angels…)
Perhaps I’ll find time to comment on them all in coming posts, but here I want to mention the main reason for my blog post absence: I’ve been busy! Writing—of all things.
With over three years invested in my novel’s first draft how can I not be obsessed with revision? Those first fifty pages, Part 1 of 3, every paragraph must drive the story onward, and each hour of revision is filled with the nagging fear that some agent or editor will say “no mas” far too soon. Fear, armpit-dripping fear. But, hey, I’m a writer and there’s genuine satisfaction with each edit that improves the narrative. When faced with allocating time, priorities are priorities.
And then there’s writer conference season…
In December I signed up for the Taos Writers’ Conference (July), mainly for the opportunity to attend Robert Boswell’s workshop; but then I saw ads for the first ever Yale Writers’ Conference—John Crowley, Richard Selzer, Julia Glass, Kate Walbert, and, most importantly to me, Tom Perrotta. Live at Yale for 10 days and learn from these extraordinary writers? No brainer. I sent in my writing sample/application and waited.
Well, what do you do when you’re in the middle of a novel revision and you are accepted to a John Crowley workshop and Tom Perrotta master class? First, you catch up on workshop leader writings—see above— and then you write a new short story—pronto! And so I did. “In From The Country,” a story that’d been worming around my brain for a while.
Long story short: I’ve just returned from Yale. While the conference could use modifications for the future, it was nonetheless a tremendous success and outstanding experience. And, yes, there’s a noteworthy blog post percolating as I type. But now I’ve got a few weeks to return to revision—and—I need another new story for Taos!
Seems like consistent blog posts might be a short-term challenge. But I promise lots of insightful musings are coming soon…