Personal Narrative: Drafts of my Writing

1301 Words6 Pages
Failing to mention either the most rewarding or the most distressing aspects of learning to write would be to tell an incomplete story. I have an intimate yet erratic relationship with writing. I am a most ambivalent lover. Stopping to glance at my watch, my fingers still poised above the keyboard, I have smiled, amazed to find that I have been in a state of bliss in which hours have passed without my noticing. I have also flushed and sweated as I stared at my computer screen, reading my own text over and over again, vainly trying to anticipate the criticism I correctly supposed would come. I love, adore, am devoted to, am crazy about writing. The limitations of words are nowhere more apparent that when I try to describe my pleasure, joy, delight, satisfaction at using, playing with, relishing, wielding them. I know about writing; well, the truth is that I sometimes know how to write. How it is that I know how to write is something I don’t know a lot about. I am a creative writer and a formal essayist. I am humorous and deadly serious, courageous and terrified. I write fiction and essay, poetry and prose. That makes me the teller of lies and truths and, perhaps occasionally, a bit of Truth. But I am fragile, so fragile. I can write when approval is heaped on me, layered like blankets; give me flannel, cotton, polyester blends, wool and down. Regardless of their weight or numbers, they never smother me or weigh me down. In truth, they barely keep out the drafts. I am grateful to be able to report that I have been wrapped tightly in such comforters as: “Good point . . . very impressive work . . . excellent . . . outstanding job.” “Very good essay, with clarity and insight.” “A strong paper, certainly no... ... middle of paper ... ...I am grateful to her for saying them. Second, I attended the International Women’s Writing Guild’s Summer Conference last month at Skidmore College. Eunice Scarfe, a Canadian short story writer who teaches at the University of Alberta taught a workshop that I was drawn to attend each day. She called free writing “the act of writing,” and then described the editing and crafting that follow as “the art of writing.” That phrase brought a dignity to what had sometimes seemed to be embarrassingly numerous rewrites. It allows me a little shelter from the cold drafts that always threaten. Last, despite the uncertainty I feel about this relationship, despite my anxiety and my love’s many warts, complexities and annoying habits, I tuck the blanket around the two of us. I am conflicted, but still in love and something that I can’t quite name keeps me coming back for more.
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