On Doubt, Passion, and Pancakes
April 2, 2015
I hope to develop a strong working relationship with my mentor, allowing not only my work to benefit from the program, but my daily writing practice as well.
I’ve been working on the stories and novella that are included in You and Me, Belonging for many years. Once I felt I had enough stories to start thinking about a collection, I read through them, and very clearly saw common themes. After that, I put together the stories I felt best suited the intent of the collection, struggled through another draft of my novella, and started on a new story or two.
I think selfhood, goodness, and community, all of which are explored in the collection, are highly relevant to everybody. How to belong, how to live well, how to find an identity, all of these things are unavoidably wrapped up in the cultures, politics, technologies, and institutes of the more-or-less broken contemporary world. The characters in my stories, whether they are aware of it or not, are all trying to figure out where they fit in that world.
I find that my writing process will change depending on what I’m working on at the time. In general: I try to write every day; I write on the computer, though I also print out drafts and mark them up with pen; and I strongly believe in giving my work time alone in the proverbial drawer, to cool and settle—often, when I go back to it after some distance, I can more readily see what needs to happen or change or go away for the next draft.
In a perfect world, a writer’s life would be much like my life is now, I guess: full of doubt and passion and pancakes. Hopefully, ten years from now I’ll still be writing, turning sentences, struggling and surprising myself. A book or two in the interim would be nice.
‘Zany’ is a hard word. Let’s see. I’ve seen the band Phish almost forty times, at venues throughout America. Does that count as zany? Probably.