The Great Experiment Begins

Well, I have made it up to Seattle at last, and have finally got settled in to my place with my aunt and uncle. I'm enjoying my set-up here--I have my own room detached from the house next to the garage, and I have set it up with separate sections for sleeping, hanging out, and working, which is nice. It's very cozy, and it's great to have my own space, so I can distinguish between time I am playing with the boys and time I am not. They are in school in the morning, so right now my aunt has me coming in at 4:00, which is when she gets tired and the boys get rowdy, and playing with them until dinner. That means I get a good 6-8 hours to write in the morning. I usually help clean up after dinner, then come back out to my place to work some more before I go to sleep. I think we'll try out this system for the week, and then see how she thinks it is working for her. I'm also planning to spend one evening a week watching the boys so my aunt and uncle can go out, and one day a week helping them out with projects around the house.

I've been here for a week, mostly setting up my room, and today was the first day I was able to devote a whole morning to writing. It was pretty good. It's a big shift going from generally being too busy to spend much time writing at all to six straight hours devoted to getting something interesting down on the computer screen, so I am giving myself some time to get used to the rhythm and not expecting too much in terms of quality output of myself at first. It's a little intimidating really having the time to write and wanting so badly for something worthwhile to come out of it, and it's hard not to feel guilty that I'm not being more productive or proactive or whatever in my life right now, but it is a tremendous blessing to have this time and this opportunity, and it will really allow me to see whether this is the right path for me or not. So many writers don't get this chance, and have to battle within their busy lives for a little time to write through things, so I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so in such a supportive environment.

I had an exciting journey up here, with several visits with friends along the way--I had breakfast with Kara Christianson in Los Angeles, and heard about her teaching experience, which sounds unsurprisingly intense (she is doing Teach For America down there), then I saw Luba in San Francisco, where I experienced my first official San Francisco taqueria (apparently they're a pretty big deal) and saw an exhibit of amazing quilts at the Museum of Modern Art. I spent a few days with Janel in Berkeley meeting her friends and co-workers and getting to experience her situation there, and then I stayed with Brooks and Justin in Redding for a night talking and commenting on the manifestation of gender roles in Legend (a hilarious movie featuring Tom Cruise completely doused with glitter which you really should consider your need to experience) and Field of Dreams, before making my way the rest of the way up to Seattle.

I have stopped by school a couple of times since I got up here, to watch the showcase of the Town Crier Speaks student-written one-act festival, and to attend Lighthouse last night, which was fabulous, and I am planning to go to the Homecoming game this weekend, because heck, I'm an alum, and isn't that what we're supposed to do? :-) And last weekend I got to go up and visit my coach, which was wonderful as always--complete with the usual fabulous conversation as well as a run/hike on glorious trails and another foray into culinary brilliance, this one consisting of savory waffles with broccoli/potato/onion/cheddar batter topped with vegetables and lime sour cream--yum! I also watched the first half of Branagh's Hamlet, which I had never seen before, with his AP class.

Back in Seattle, the boys have been really good so far. They are very well brought up, and I am amazed at how well they share and behave given how young they are. My newest cousin is 8 weeks old, so she's still pretty tiny and mainly eats, sleeps, and cries, but she's a cutie. And my aunt and uncle are great--they're so generous and welcoming and understanding. I can't get over how amazing it is that they have offered me the chance to be up here doing all this.

As for the projects I'll be tackling, I have a screenplay I have mostly plotted out that I am interested in writing, along with a half-finished fairy tale play I've always meant to complete and a couple of novel ideas including a collaborative story I'm writing with Coach. I just got an idea for a play that takes a slightly new look at the synoptic gospel story, so that's another potential undertaking. There are certainly plenty of projects to tackle, and I'm sure I will come up with more as my brain gets used to the idea that I really get to spend significant portions of my day working on this stuff. I've also been doing some warm-up exercises and prompts and writing lists and such, basically writing anything that comes into my head, operating on the principle that if I get in the habit of not censoring my ideas and just spewing everything in my head out onto the computer, then I will get down to the good stuff buried in the corners and crevices, and I can go back and cut and edit after it's down, rather than as it's coming out. So, we'll see how the philosophy holds up with time.

Finally, I've decided to create a special blog for publishing snippets and excerpts from the writing I am doing each day. This won't be the main projects I am working on, which I will keep under pretty close wraps until I feel ready to share them, but it will provide an idea, to anyone who might be interested, of some of the more random stuff that finds its way out of my head and will probably never make its way into anything "real". So, if you want to check that out, it will be at http://www.shewritesaloud.blogspot.com, which you maybe could have guessed if you had thought about it hard enough. It's called For Public Consumption, and will be linked in the sidebar of this site for ready access. I will be discouraging critique of the stuff I post on there because of the nature of what it will be, although you are welcome to comment on the ideas/content posted. And words of encouragement are ALWAYS welcome, especially in these first rocky, hesitant days of experimentation with a new, exciting, but vast world of possibilities. Know, also, that although I write in isolation, I am able to do so only because of the many people who have supported, encouraged, and inspired me along the way. One of my projects today was to list all of the people I felt were with me, somehow, in spirit as I wrote, in my corner, so to speak, and if you are reading this I can almost guarantee that you are on there. So, thank you, for being there, for being who you are, for making me who I am.


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