Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quiet un-Christmassy Christmas, which suits me fine. We walked around the lake, about three and a half miles. Bright and sunny, the ducks shaking their dazzling tails and diving deep into murky water. Lots of other people were out also, only one couple with Santa Claus hats. We passed a couple of people who were alone and looked sad; a young woman, in heels and a nice skirt, who averted her gaze as we passed. The holidays can be so tough. I remember in previous years, when I was single, this whole stretch of time from November through Valentine's Day seemed like a gigantic plot to torment me with loneliness.

We talked about creative confidence. What gives a person the courage to create art even in the face of the world's indifference? How to deal with the fear of humiliation? Although I strive to create as safe and gentle an atmosphere as possible, every semster I have students who shake or cry when they read their work out loud, every semester there are students who drop the class, even though they paid good money to join it, and every semester there are students who jump through hoops of fire to get to their dream, whose emotional breakthroughs rival their creative achievements as they finally allow themselves to be writers. But it's not easy.

I don't know exactly why my neuroses don't land in this particular area. I'm as neurotic as the next girl in most ways. And I feel frustrated just like anyone whjen my work is rejected. I just don't, for whatever reason, interpret those rejections as a sign from God to stop. Maybe I'm just slow to get the message or something,(she says, having received yet another rejection for See How We Almost Fly in the mail this morning.)

For whatever weird combination of reasons, flourodated water, a grandmother who thought I was a genius, a hard-headed mother, sheer stubbornness is my claim to fame. Every semester at Writing Salon I encounter brilliant, deep, insightful students. The only thing that qualifies me to sit in the teacher's seat is that I've spent a few hundred thousand hours just doing the work, and that's something no degree can confer on you and no one can take away from you.

After our walk, C went off to hang with a friend, and G came over and we threw a basketball around as he had forgotten the tennis rackets. Came back and had a beer and watched Merci Pour le Chocolat, an incomprehensible French thriller starring Isabelle Huppert, which I bought because it was on sale for four dollars and I'm a sucker for anything French. G fell asleep about ten minutes in. C came home and chided him, "Don't let her force you to sit through that. You got to stand up for yourself!" (Here, I am compelled to admit that C has happily accompanied me or initiated many seriously offbeat cultural adventures, including one-woman shows, song cycles, and dragapella shows with dreaded Audience Participation, but for some mysterious reason he is resisting the latest Pedro Almodovar.)

Today is a day of waiting for my girlfriend's medical test results. Rejection slips pale in the face of this. It really doesn't matter if See How We Almost Fly gets published this year or next or not at all. Not compared to this.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

If it's Volver he's resisting, tell him he's cheating himself by not watching. Really.

It's one of Almodovar's brighter, funnier films retaining his slightly twisted perspective on the joys and challenges of love and life. It's not as convoluted or challenging as some of his other, edgier work is, although it's not mindless fluff, either.

Well worth it!