Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'd Better get Moving

I've got three things to finish by the end of October, and this sweater is not one of them.

So...which thing do you think I'll do first? Well, I'll finish the top of course. I've got my priorities in order.

Three things I must finish by the end of October:

Item 1: HUGe

What the hell is that, you might ask. If you are an Elannite, you probably already know. I forget what it stands for. Heaving Unknown Gifts Eastward? Something like that. It's a gift exchange that a bunch of us signed up to do. It works on the same principle as a Christmas cookie exchange. I make ten things; nine other people make ten things; we all get one of each thing. Hopefully, we get things we can give out as gifts to assorted people in our lives. Or we get ten things to keep for ourselves. I signed up to do two batches of ten things, so I have to make twenty things. Crazy ol' me. I'd better get moving.

Item 2: Science Experiment

This is a euphemism, of course. I'm sure I wasn't fooling anyone with that when I mentioned it a few weeks ago. It has to do with a certain yarny contest that I'd like to enter. I used to have two months to get ready for it. Now I only have one. I'd better get moving.

Item 3: CBC Literary Contest

Okay, this one's got me all jazzed up. I joined a writing group this fall. I've been in writing groups before. I've been a words-girl all my life. I was the one at school who could come up with a whole new set of lyrics to the tune of Gilligan's Island that described the salient features of the French Revolution. I re-wrote the Christmas Carol "Good King Wenceslas" to discuss Good Chef Senseless-Les, and his turkey that turned into poultry-flavored jerky. I wrote a series of television commercials on the theme of Hamlet. My favorite was for a product called Chef Boy-R-Dee Mini Mac-a-Rosencrantz.

I was the kid that tutored my classmates in essay writing and in how to read a poem. I was the kid who actually enjoyed public speaking. I was the kid who read things I had written out over the public address system in elementary school. I was the person in my family who could be counted on to come up with a speech or a poem or some other congratulatory address at important events and milestone anniversaries.

All my life I have wanted to be a writer, but never really believed I could be one...well not officially at least. Whatever that means. I have friends who call themselves artists, professionally, and they are. But I have a hard time with the word. When I took a writing course in grad school a few years ago, I was mentored by a gifted professor as well as by a student who had been active in the world of editing and publishing. They made it very clear that my work was of publishable quality. I didn't believe them. Now the people in my writing group, also highly qualified, are telling me the same thing. I'm ready to go professional.

This sounds very exciting, and of course I am thrilled to hear it. I guess I can now call myself a writer-person. But the real work is not in the writing. As difficult and insane as writing is, or can be, the real work -- the grunt work -- is in flogging the finished product. I have to find a market for the kind of writing that I do. And then I have to brace myself for a great deal of hurry up and wait, and...oh yeah...rejection. I am not as intimidated by the rejection part as I am by all the office work that is required. Creativity flows. Administration does not. Never mind. My new writing friends say they are going to keep booting me in the backside until I've sent out my work.

The first boot came by email yesterday. CBC Radio is hosting its annual literary contest, and I have a month to get ready. I need to cull out around 1,000 words or so of poetry from among the hoard I have stored in my journals and on my computer. I also need to get a few creative non-fiction pieces chosen and polished. I can do this. And once that is out of the way, I'm going to start sending stuff off to a few magazines that I think might be receptive. And it will go from there.

I'd better get moving.


Anonymous said...

You are really clipping along on that sweater top! Wow! Good luck on your CBC Radio contest.

CatBookMom said...

You go with that writing, girlfriend! Your poem is lovely. What an encouragement to have people who know telling you that your work is publishable quality. Sending virtual support in massive quantities.