Thursday, June 4, 2015

Writing that Matters

Yesterday, I met my writing friend/colleague for one of our periodic fiction lunches (or in this case Linner, as we met at 3:00).  We go to Panera, since it's one of the few places where she can find food that she can eat and not aggravate her health issues.  We spend time catching up, and then we read each other's work.  We've been doing this for years.

It's writing that matters, to be sure.  I don't want to let my friend down--it's tremendous motivation.  And through the years, the evidence mounts up that we're accomplishing more collectively than we would by ourselves.

We've been playing with the idea of having a word prompt; so far, we've written one for Spell and Journey.  Our word prompt for our next short story is "Afternoon."

Let me record the lines that came to me in the middle of the night:  I love afternoons on Mars better than any time of day.  Some of my fellow colonists prefer night, where we can take out our telescopes and see Earth. 

Where will I go with this?  Will I go anywhere with this?  Stay tuned!

Yesterday was also a strangely good day for writing a poem.  I say strangely good, because it was a jam-packed day:  classroom presentation, meetings, class observation, e-mails, phone calls, face to face consults, all the things which make up a day--nary a scrap of free time to be seen.

As I drove to work on Tuesday, a line floated through my head:  when I run away to theology school.  I liked the cadence of it.  I liked the actual meaning of the phrase.

And yesterday, as I sat in a classroom waiting for the class to get going, I wrote a whole poem.  I hadn't spent any time thinking about where I would take it (often a poem-prewriting process of mine that happens for several days/weeks before I write the poem).  Yesterday the poem just spilled out of me, and I'm fairly pleased with the final report.

We are observing classes as part of a nationwide effort on the part of our parent company.  We are going to certain classes during weeks 3 and 9 and writing up our observations.  We upload them to our local site and then our dean uploads them to a central spot.  Does anyone read them?  I have not gotten any feedback on any of the work that I've uploaded.

As I was walking back to my office, I had this mad moment where I contemplated uploading the poem.  It seemed like a transgressive performance art kind of thing to do.  And it seemed like a way to see if anyone is reading these reports that we're creating, if anyone is monitoring this process that takes so much time.  It's an interesting process, but it does have the feel of those worksheets that used to fill time in school.

Maybe that's why I wrote the poem--writing was my solace and survival strategy as a student during my classes that relied on worksheets or boring filmstrips.

It's also a good reminder that writing can happen in the margins of even the busiest days.  Meetings rarely start on time--we could write as we wait. 

But now, I must return to the work that pays the bills.  I have student papers to grade for my online class.  Here, too, I will wonder if my writing makes a difference, as I write comments and make suggestions to student writers for how to improve.  Time to begin.

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