Reading This Today

From NPR’s website, (author interviews)….by Nate Klug, a theology student at Yale Divinity School.


Its water-torture-slow
wend in me. Its work

like the reverse of work.
No wonder human

praise won’t stick.
No wonder anger’s

more often summoned,
its hum, ready-made,

that steadies my head
like hospital television,

throwing blue rumor
for hours at no one.


How to Ruin a Story

Maybe I”m just too hard on myself.

Our second fiction writing class put me on a high. Steve used each story in the group to point out what we’d done well and ways to improve. Our “homework” assignment was to either revise, add on, or start again. After rewriting/revising my original story last Thursday and Friday, I realized I’d made so many changes, it had morphed into something new. There’s not much action–my character is in her head, unaware the rest of the world doesn’t swim in the same pond she does. She sees people and events through her own perspective, but I had written the story in third person.

First I tried changing to first person, but I couldn’t make it work. Then I took out all references to outside events she was reacting to (politics, family issues) and tried to “live” in her mind. Finally, I reverted back to third person but changed it to present tense. Anyway, by yesterday morning, the story had been ripped apart and pasted back together so many times, it didn’t make sense. And I was frustrated. (I was rewriting scenes in my head at church yesterday morning–not a good sign!)

Since our story was due that night, I pulled out something else I’d been working on, and revised the point of view and tense to first person present. By 9 p.m. last night, my brain was fried. Of course I couldn’t sleep, wondering whether I should have plugged along with the first piece.

But back to my main point. I am so forgiving of others (at least I try to be).  But forgive myself? Forget it. My internal voice becomes so negative, I turn a small event into a rehash of my entire life, flaws and poor choices ringing in my ears.

This morning, though, I’ve moved past most of it, though some guilt/anxiety will always be with me, I’m afraid. I ran into a friend yesterday who said, “When all else fails, walk the dog.” Well, I can’t do that anymore, but I sure can get myself outside. I’m hoping a long, fast power walk around town will clear my head.

Then I’ll be ready to dive into that first story again–with a better attitude. This should be fun, right?