Friday, March 23, 2007

good-bye writing group, hello orangutans

Okay, I’m back from Crazyville, more or less, thanks to ramen with Steph and Nina (right), some mellow quality time with AK, a lot of phone calls to my very patient dad and sister, and a really sweet get-well card from Sara’s cats, Chaucer and Schro. It was especially nice of them considering that they’ve never even met T-Mec in person—but they used to all live in the same building in Northern South L.A., so I’m sure they’ve had their eyes on many of the same pigeons and free-range pit bulls.

Now I have new cause for bittersweetness: On Tuesday I let my writing group know that April 25 would be my last day with them. I’m at a stage in my novel where I need to do a bunch of research, and being in a regular writing group brings pressure to turn in pages rather than study the rainforest conservation movement in Eastern Malaysia.

That’s right, I’m quitting my writing group because it was causing me to write too much.

Also, I’ve been in it for almost three years, longer than most MFA programs. I love my classmates and Terry, our workshop leader, and I’ve gotten a lot of priceless feedback from them. They’ve seen me through the most meandering of plotlines and they’ve kept me on track—or, as the case often is, helped me find a track in the first place. Nevertheless, I think it might be useful to get some new influences. My class tends to focus on plot, something I will always need a lot of help with, but I wouldn’t mind hanging with some theme types or language types for a while. I loved my time at UCLA and at CalArts and in therapy (which is sort of like school for your psyche), but I don’t think it would have been good for me to stick with any one of them forever.

My therapist told me once that there’s a school of psychology that recommends doing everything just slightly before you’re ready. That’s how you learn, and how you keep from burning out. So even though I’m thoroughly sad to say goodbye (even temporarily—there’s a good chance I’ll be back post-research), and I’m nervous about what will happen to my writing routine without that weekly structure and guidance—I guess that means I’m ready.


thelastnoel said...

Yup, I know this well. We're supposed to go away for periods of time. That's what we do.

Cheryl said...

Time to be a magical disappearing writer....