Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May 1st - the glorious first of May - May Day - is it a call for help or a workers' holiday? Do we gather blossoms for the May Pole or rise up against the oppression of the proletariat? No, let's not do either. For one thing it might snow and there are definitely no wee May flowers yet (oh how I love their smell!) and for another it is time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!

I'm writing this on the 30th - usually my writing pal and I get together on Wednesdays but this week she has another money gig so we got together early. So here goes.

I'm including the purpose as stated on the IWSG sign-up page.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Okay - confession time. For the first time since I was fourteen years old and I'm 67 now - so for the first time in fifty-three years, I no longer feel like a writer. I don't feel like a stuck writer, or a frenzied writer or an amateur writer or a professional writer or an occasional writer - I plain just do not feel like a writer at all. I'm still a blogger. I write on my blog Sojourner in Nova Scotia once a week. I do write a letter now and then - but I'm no longer waiting to turn into Edna St. Vincent Millay or Brenda Starr, girl reporter, or Margaret Lawrence or Carol Shields. So - not a poet, not a journalist, not a novelist, not a playwright. Nope - not a writer.

I've looked at why that might be and have a few theories but nothing very solid. It is totally shocking to me. And before you take to telling me that I'm simply going through a very natural lull or block - no, I'm not. I've done that lots of times and this is different. This is more like you woke up one morning and you couldn't see, or you couldn't use your hands. Something that has been a huge part of me for as long as I can remember - I know I said fourteen but actually I became a writer in grade two in Osgoode, Ontario, when a teacher praised my essay on our camping trip to the Maritimes.

Possible reasons for this may be the following:

  1. No positive reinforcement from the publishing world. No blame here, but the last time I got some was in the fall of 2017 when I got a poem published and a chapbook shortlisted for a prize. I have sent out a lot of poems and queries for Bright Angel in the last year and it has been reject, reject, reject. I know that is natural but after all this time I don't feel so sanguine about it. I feel rejected if you want to know the truth. I know it is a mug's game but jeesh!
  2. It is the end-days. Again I know this might seem a bit over the top, but hey - this is me reporting from my life. I feel that climate change is inevitable and so is the end of the human habitation of this planet. I hope I'm wrong but right now I think that is a reasonable conclusion to draw. That has led to a bit of an existential crises for me - not in every part of my life, but in the desire to create things for others.
  3. My creative life is flowing well with drawing and painting. I am expressing myself and in an area unbesmirched with the desire for publication and fame. I just do it for me. Maybe I could find that pure love of making again with my poetry - certainly it feels gone with novels and plays for me.
So that's it. That is the fire I'm in right now. I cannot adequately express how bizarre I feel not to be who I believed myself to be. It doesn't matter that no one else necessarily thought that was my identity. It feels so gone that I'm not even grief-stricken - more puzzled. Where did it go?


Margot Kinberg said...

We're always evolving and changing, Jan, and I think it's important to be open to that. And I honestly think it's hard to capture who we are with just one word (like 'writer'). I think we're more than just one word.

Pat Garcia said...

I am not going to offer you any answers or suggestions because i don't have any. What I have some idea of where you are because I have been there before. It's a period of plain old emptiness. For me, I had to wait until the emptiness is filled. It is filling but it is being filled slowly and I am learning to rediscover myself.

Wishing you all the best.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Jude said...

A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate their ideas.
You may not fit the image of a ”writer” that you have always had in your mind, but you will always be a “writer” in my mind. Xoxo

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