When I was fifteen, my friends were all older, smarter, and way cooler than me. One day I came into the computer room and found them all excitedly punching in code.
“What are you guys doing?”
“We’re making web pages on Geocities.”
“Can I make one?”
“Fine, we’ll give you an hour of our time to explain this stuff and an index card with the three things you have to remember. After that, you’re on your own.”
That was just after I started seriously writing fiction, and the thought of putting my words out there for people to see was a huge motivator. I’ve made several pages on Geocities over the years, and each one represented important shifts in how I viewed myself as a writer, an artist, and a fan of other people’s work. Even though LJ has taken over a lot of those functions for me, I still think of Geocities as a place that helped me find my voice when I was fighting to be taken seriously and not be dismissed as a child with nothing to say. Even with the years of pop-up ads, the scandals that they might grab copyright to people’s work, and this final, abrupt closing, I’m going to miss it.
Writing sucks right now. I spend forever writing and rewriting the same damn lines, and everything is clunky and uninviting and doesn’t go anywhere. I comfort myself that I’m showing up at the page and putting words on paper every day, so if the muse doesn’t show up, that’s her problem. Of course, it’s going to be my problem next week, when my story is due, but hey. A girl needs her illusions.
Really freaking excited about courses for next year, though. Registration is Monday and if I get in, I’ll be taking my first Shakespeare course, my last workshop, and a form & technique class run by my adviser, who is awesome. And if I don’t get into Shakespeare, Milton or 18th Century Masculinities. I am such a geek.
The frustrating thing about being in a creative writing program is that stories are due even when your brain is lying fallow. And right now is one of those times when I have ten days to write my next story for my regular fiction workshop, less than a week to write something for my SFF workshop, and absolutely no idea where to begin on either.
So I’m putting a call out. Toss me a prompt: a plot bunny, a situation, three random words, a line of dialogue, and I’ll see what I can do with it. If I turn it into a story or a flash fiction piece, I’ll post it here (under f’lock) for your enjoyment.
Seriously, it’s January and no one told me. Twenty degrees, a foot of snow on the ground, icy sidewalks, WTF? Is it going to be like this until March?
Not feeling well. Possibly coming down with fever. Ironically can’t sleep in tomorrow because I have a physical at the Dr’s office.
I’m going to go to the SFF workshop tonight because I’ll be damned if I miss the first meeting, but after that I’m going straight home to bed, NOT off to the MFA reading. I am not going to be a hero and make myself sicker by pushing too hard.
This week I have FOUR workshops back to back for four different classes. Which means reading eleven stories carefully and figuring out how to offer constructive criticism that’s appropriate to each author. Three of the stories are for a workshop I’m leading for beginning writers, so I have to be gentle with them and keep in mind what my own writing was like at that age. One story is by a guy who I’m pretty sure hates me, which means tying myself in knots trying to figure out how to tell him what didn’t work for me without giving him a reason to hate me more. The situation is made worse because I’m pretty sure he just tossed this one off, so I’m angry with myself for putting more effort into the critique than I think he put into the writing.
And one story is by a friend of mine and Oh My God, is it good! It’s this huge step forward in her abilities and I’m just squeeing to see all her hard work pay off. Sometimes in this program I wonder what we’re doing here, and then I see people make that leap from “good enough for workshop” to “go submit this to the New Yorker, NOW!” and it restores my faith.
Back to work, whistling…