Getting in the Groove

The end of my second week of writing draws nigh, and I am pleased to announce that it has gone far better than my first week. Perhaps I am simply getting used to this new situation and the pattern of my life--which, with its lack of constant busyness and looming deadlines, and the inclusion of several small children with whom I spend my afternoons, is quite different from what I have become accustomed to over the past several years. I think it also helped that I have been able to get out of the house a few times this week--into the park or down to the beach to write, and one day I walked the several blocks to the nearest coffee shop and sat there for a few hours sipping a vanilla steamer and brainstorming a novel idea in its initial development stages. I've hit upon a couple of ideas that I am really excited to work on--the aforementioned novel, as well as a screenplay adaptation and a seed of an idea for a play--so that also helps.

But I think a significant step towards a better writing process for me has been to mentally reinterpret this year so that my focus is not on immediately producing something I deem worthy of being sent out into the world, because at this point in my process that pressure was preventing me from feeling free to experiment and play and try and fail and try again, which is what I need to be doing, which is what being in this circumstance is so amazingly able to provide me with the opportunity to do. It's a little hard not to feel guilty about having this chance which is so crucial in the writing process, but which so few writers are able to have, and that guilt was also making it difficult to work freely. But my ever-encouraging mother pointed out that this is, as she put it, my "cookie-baking year"--that is, the year that most people spend at age three staying home baking cookies with their mothers, but which I deferred to age 21 by starting school a year earlier than most other kids in my cohort. So if I produce nothing more than a few burnt batches of brownies and some indistinguishable multicolored blobs of hardened PlayDo, I'll have caught up with the rest of my generation at the end of the year.

I also realized that my current lifestyle--living in a beautiful area with pockets of nature accessible, helping to raise a family and having free time to write whatever I'm interested in, is the lifestyle I currently find most appealing to imagine for myself, and this time gives me the perfect chance to test it out and see if it's really all it's cracked up to be, if I can revel in it or if I eventually find myself in need of more--more interaction with people, more intellectual stimulation, more productivity. So I decided that the main point of this year for me is not necessarily to produce a finished book, or play, or screenplay (although that certainly may happen along the way), but to experiment with my own identity as a writer, to decide what part I want writing to play in the next upcoming chunk of my life: what kinds of things am I interested in writing, how much of my time do I want to be spending on it, how central to my life do I want it to be, what else do I want to be doing at the same time? When I have figured these things out, I will have a clear idea of what I need to do in order to achieve those desires, and I will know what my next step should be.

In other news, watching the boys has been going well. They just got this marble track set that they absolutely love--Keagan enjoys planning and creating new permutations of the various blocks and rails, and Braden loves testing them out and knocking them down. I have also made it down to school a few times. Last weekend I went to the Homecoming football game, initially questioning my decision to do so because I hadn't arranged to meet anyone there and wasn't particularly interested in the game itself, really. But luckily I ran into a couple of good friends--Megan and John--on the way to and at the game, and we spent much of it commentating on the game with various sociological/philosophical/artistic observations, which was quite entertaining. Also, to my shock and elation, the long-lost hatchet, elusive symbol of our school traditionally stolen by prankish seniors and missing since 2002, aka throughout my entire college career, was returned at halftime in a dramatic display involving a young man rappelling from the roof, rushing the field, and being apprehended by campus security. Quite exciting!

I also went to Lighthouse this week and stayed afterwards for a game of midnight basketball, which was incredibly fun despite the fact that I can't score a basket to save my life, and despite my incurring a quarter-sized blood blister on the ball of each foot due to improper footwear. Tonight I will attend the fifth annual Town Crier Speaks Festival of student-written one-acts, through which, while I attended the school, I directed one play, wrote three, and produced two festivals, to my great edification. I can't wait to see what this year's festival brings forth.

My living quarters remain cozy and well-appointed, although in the absence of my valiant father, Official Vanquishing Knight of Menacing Spiders, I have been forced to come to terms with some persistent eight-legged visitors entrenched in my room's upper corners. Last night I noticed that, in the silent detachment of my room late in the evening, I had started to speak to the spiders, which had me a little worried. Perhaps one day soon I shall be calling myself Arachnia, the Spider Queen, and luring them in with promises of juicy flies and silken webs. Goodness, I hope not.

Um, right, well, that's all the updating I'll do at the moment. I'm now off to attempt to apply the rigid structure of a screenplay on one of my favorite books, which I think will stand up to the challenge. Until next time!


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