Monthly Archives: February 2012

Permission to Write Crap

Every year I start my J-1 class off with an oath. Students must raise their right hands and solemnly swear to give themselves permission to write crap. I want them to turn off internal editors and just write. As Nora Roberts says, “You can’t fix a blank page.”
Enter my personal writing life. Tonight when I sat down to work on the WIP, I freaked out. Crap times 10 million. That’s what I saw. This character is still all over the place. There are moments, but, yeah, it’s like my life interfered with the character’s life and there’s no continuity and no real rhythm to the words.
I Goggled plot help and found this cool site. It didn’t tell me anything new, but it helped me regroup.
I’ve spent the last two hours getting back to the basics of my main character, comparing what I know about story–what I’ve learned over the years from workshop, what I love to read and what I teach–and I like what I’ve got.
For a few moments today I forgot to give myself permission to write crap, and to be totally okay with that because that first draft turns into something special in the revision process.
Glad the freak out is over. Hope I don’t forget this lesson ever again.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

A little more than 24 hours ago I left Cinemark after watching Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
The movie was awesome.
I’ll never watch it again.
I cried, I felt sick, I thought about leaving the theater. But I couldn’t.
The movie brought 9/11 back. It also brought back how ridiculously guilty I felt for my intense grief. So many people I knew had connections to people who died that day. My only connection was the news, which I couldn’t turn away from.
The movie is fiction, and yet, all I could think was so many people lived this little boy’s horror and grief. So many people lived his mother’s heartbreak and anger.
The movie disturbed me, broke my heart, made me wonder where all that hate comes from.
I can’t recommend the movie, but I can say it’s well written and acted. Maybe it’s good that we’re reminded of the awful truth of that day. Maybe it’s good to be uncomfortable and to wish for a happy ending when the reality is happy endings aren’t possible sometimes.