Thursday, April 24, 2014

Springtime for Writers

It’s been a long, cold winter around here. Both literally and metaphorically.
I think most people (at least those in the Northeast) will agree that the warm weather and sunshine we’re finally getting is well deserved and long overdue. Plants are finally sprouting in my yard and in my living room, where I’ve started some seedlings with the kids in preparation for warmer days to come. It’s so refreshing to witness rebirth after so many months buried under snow and ice.

It’s been a long metaphorical winter for me as well in terms of my writing life—not that I’ve been completely silent, as you know if you’ve been following my blogs at Mrs. Green’s World. (And why wouldn’t you?) But that’s not my “real” writing life (no offense to Mrs. Green).
“But blogging is writing,” I can hear you say. Yes. And no.

I love blogging. It gets me thinking about topics in a depth I might not have otherwise. It keeps my grammatical and editorial skills honed. It gets my voice “out there” in front of an audience that might not have read my work otherwise. It allows me to be me, in my truest of true voices. All good things.
But my writing life—my “real” writing life—lies in fiction, and fiction is a completely different animal. Where blogging is all about “you,” writing fiction is all about stepping outside of yourself and embodying “the other” as fully and completely as a person can. Thinking someone else’s thoughts. Speaking someone else’s words. Feeling someone else’s feelings. Pulling the puppeteer strings of someone else’s life.

I’ve missed it.
Among the lives lying in wait for me during my several-month dry spell are a sixteen-year-old girl in Elizabethan England trying to make her way in the world by any means that doesn’t involve taking a husband and running a household; a fourteen-year-old boy who is haunted (both literally and figuratively) by the dead brother whose death he caused; a spunky eight-year-old girl who finds out that she’ll soon have to share her parents with a new baby brother; a twelve-year-old Croatian boy in 1926 who suddenly finds himself alone on a train with a ticket to America and no idea how to get there…and the list goes on.

They miss me, these characters. I can feel it. And I certainly miss them.

But I can see saplings shooting up. Last night, I reconnected with several writer friends I haven’t seen in years. We talked about starting a writers group, something I desperately need to keep me on track, like a gasp of air when drowning. Next weekend I’m attending a writers retreat—my first in years—with fellow alums from my MFA program. Another deep gasp.
Spring is coming indeed, and I couldn’t be more excited. Now, just as with the saplings growing in my living room, it is up to me to cultivate the sprouts and help them bloom.

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