Monday, February 27, 2017

Minding My Muse 03

This Minding My Muse blog series continues as I share my unrevised, unedited responses to author and teacher, Priscilla Long’s thought provoking prompts at the close of each chapter of Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators.

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 19
“Do you spend part of your work time consciously gathering, consciously dabbling and doodling, collecting, ruminating? Are there ways you could deepen your art practice and make it more pleasurable by putting into place a gathering phase, one that continues as composing begins? What sorts of materials might you gather and where might you keep those materials?

September 2016
Gathering (or research) is very much a part of my practice whether I’m doing memoir or fiction. I gather before and during a project. I gather historical facts, relics, music, food, photographs, letters, memories. I’m in that stage now with the Mexico memoir, pulling and gathering relics in hopes of also gathering lost memories and trying to make sense of that lost young woman on her own in Mexico. I listen to music and memories surface. Look at photos. Read letters. I shall give myself more time to sink deep into the memories. This needs to be alone work. Maybe Saturday mornings when Tom is working and I have the house alone. Or Fridays. Will Pam be able to shift to Friday morning writes? Will I/we go to Louisa’s on Fridays? Or Tuesdays?

So I gather, but perhaps I could be better at organizing and storing the results of my gathering. I have letters and photo albums downstairs, but I think I’ve pulled out everything relevant and this is in baskets in my office. The music is here in the dining room. So far it all seems to work. What doesn’t work are the time lapses. I need to re-enter and stay there on a daily basis. I have to BE in Mexico in the early 80s. If I can BE there, the manuscript will develop. But to do that, I need to clear my plate. Republish four books, publish a second memoir. Then onward.
Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 19
“If you are one of those creators who loves research, do you work on the actual composition—whether poem, painting, or film—at the same time that you continue doing research? Is the composing phase in sync with the gathering phase, or do you continue to do research for days or years without working on the work itself? Can you improve your practice in this regard?

September 2016
I do both at the same time. For the Mexico memoir I needed, and still need, to do more upfront gathering because the memories are so weak. The challenge is that I did so much gathering and composing early last spring and early summer, but because I got so distracted, I’ve lost the string of the story.

I need to begin again
But not yet
Let the dust settle
Let summer end
Let me begin again with a daily writing routine
Let me celebrate the re-release of four (improved) books
Let me prepare Moving Mom and submit it for publication
Let me reward myself for these five books when they are all in print
Let me sink deep into 1980s Mexico, the young woman I once was
Let me begin this re-entry during winter break
Let fall quarter be a time of daily composing
Of editing and submission
Of regular blog posts
Let me become again the writer I want to be
Without fear of the pain my words may cause
Let me not censure myself or my experiences or my words
Out of fear, love or respect
For those who have suffered and are suffering still
I will find the strength to tell my stories 
With honesty and patience and passion
Knowing I risk rejection
I have to accept that rejection and keep writing
Because when I do not write, I am only half me.

Prior posts in this series:

1 comment:

Pamela said...

The list blew me away