Sunday, November 2, 2014

It has been so long...

Sometimes I dream I have forgotten a child in my care, or to go see a friend. It is a terrible feeling when I remember in my dream. I never realized that it has been so long since I posted on this site! I have no ready excuses but perhaps a bit of a psychological explanation. I went away to a writing workshop at the end of October - the 20th. It is called Piper's Frith and is held in Newfoundland. We had a week at a fabulous resortish (more rustic than that implies) with a mentor, lots of time to write, and readings by participants and mentors every night. It was beyond all my hopes and they were very high. My mentor was a generous, smart and funny man; my fellow writers were kind, supportive and sharp - a fabulous package! Most importantly, for me, is that I remembered my voice. The workshop I took was on voice - that elusive important element of writing. I had thought I was going to work on a memoir of my last year that I had started. It was built on the bones of my poetry, blog posts (Sojourner in Labrador) and face book bits. It had, I think, a nice quiet contemplative voice. I was building up to say how walking on the beach and communing with the wild had changed me - and it was all true. But. But it wasn't my voice. It was some voice that maybe more sale-able than mine, mellifluous, of contemporary interest (woman at the crest of her last quarter life moves to the northern wilds etc... ) but it wasn't my voice. My voice is sharper, funnier, laced with generous lashings of both bitterness and wry notes. I think I am thoughtful and kind but not gentle ...  So, within hours of being there, I decided that I needed to work on Bright Angel, my YA novel. My mentor agreed. We'd chatted in our first group meeting (5 students and him) and also that night at dinner and couldn't see how I was the same person who wrote the material sent in ahead of time.

I think a year of being on my own, with lots of online and telephone love but no direct contact with other writers, had left me feeling bad about my voice. Who wanted the screech and caw of a crow when I could pretend to be a lark? But crow I am and crow I will be. Now I am back in the saddle - I'm working renewed on Bright Angel, sending out my poems (which have ever been in my voice) and feeling good about it all. My reading at the Frith went swell - my mentor saying "You kicked the arse out of the room!" and so I'm raring to go.

I also got a job! I haven't started yet - I do my first shadow shift tomorrow night and then my second on Wednesday. I'm a 'casual' so will be called in to work when needed but I'm fiercely looking forward to it. My year of lolly-gagging about is over but my habits of writing, drawing, photography and meditation are well-established. I will be working with youth and their families and will be happy to get that fresh perspective again.

I will try and show up more often here, now that I've remembered who I am...

Here is a painting I recently did.

5 comments:

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Oh my goodness, Jan, you paint too? It's beautiful! Good luck with the new job!

Jan Morrison said...

I've been doing visual art for years but mostly in a binge sort of way. I took an oil painting class about four years ago, now I'm doing an online course called Sketch Book Skool. I love it! I love how one gets better with practice! Who knew?

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, Jan, that painting is lovely!! And I wish you all the best at your new job. Lovely to see you here again!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations on the new job, Jan! And I love the painting. :)

Good luck with "Bright Angel"...glad you remembered your voice.

Hart Johnson said...

So glad that you feel like you've found your voice again! I love your voice. And at the end of the day, that is really the greatest thing we have to offer because anyone can write a story, but only we can tell it in our own voice.