Monday, December 21, 2009

The Fenceposts of My Life

I might suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic school disorder), defined (by me) as how a student feels after entering writing intensive courses blindly, and surviving to tell about it. This past semester goes down as one of the most brutal. Many times I wanted to walk away from it all and take an "incomplete." But I hung in there, counting the days until the end while telling myself that I'd skip next semester.

Today I met with my U.S. History professor in order to learn my grade. Earlier this morning, I opened up my documents file and read part of a stagnant WIP, which was a regular "What the f**k was I thinking?" moment.

A few moments ago I registered for next semester.

Did I mention what my professor said? He said, "Your work was exemplary. A+, but really just an A because the college doesn't allow A+'s."

Hello, PTSD! (P.S. YAY ME!)

Many of you saw me fall off my writing edge only a few weeks ago. In my last blog post, Natasha Foundren commented that my "quitting moments" come near semester's end. I weighed her comment with other possible reasons for my "quitting moments" in order to gain some perspective. Admittedly, the year alone sucked for me. Bought a new house, didn't sell the old one, and losing my best friend, Daisy, all took a toll. We moved into our new house, and that same week I began the Fall semester.

But it wasn't until a few weeks ago that it all came to a head. My psyche took a nose dive, and well, you all know the rest. The thing is, you who "all know the rest" are the ones who have remained steadfast throughout my tumultuous times. And it recently dawned on me that those who understand me most are writers. Whenever I sit on the wire wondering, my writing friends always run to the rescue.

Through writing I've learned about me, and maybe that's because I see so much of myself in others. And that epiphany is rooted in one common denominator: Writers. It amazes me how much we all "get" each other. The people who understand the creative beast and have survived to talk about it have the uncanny and unconscious ability to accept what the rest of the world can't.

I'll admit, looking at one of my WIP's paralyzed my writing muscle a bit (or maybe it was the inner critic's guffaw). But, I'm not saying that I'm walking away from writing. It's hard to pull the creative beast's jaws from my hide. What I am saying is that perhaps I'll never cough up something that will catch an agent or editor's eye, but now I realize that writing isn't about the end, it's about the means. It's reality lined with fantasy - something mere mortals will never understand. And now that I "get it," have seen myself through others, I have the renewed strength to move forward.

And now I'm enrolled for another rousing semester. What's four more anxiety ridden months? The better part of valor is in the learning of ones self.

How/what have you seen in yourself through the eyes of others lately?


Natasha Fondren said...

Man, that's is one chock-full semester. Are you serious? Your house still didn't sell? I remember you updating about it over the summer, but MAN! I thought that family that visited fifty times would buy it, at least. Geeze.

Eyes of others? Eek. I just learned there's "talk" in the campground, speculating about the age difference between Glenn and I. *sigh* It's just silly. It doesn't bother me. They're all retired, so they need something to talk about, I guess.

Kath Calarco said...

Lol, Natasha! You should write a story about the retirement campground you presently live in. I can just imagine what people are saying, so give them something to talk about and turn it into a best seller.

Yes, our other house is like an orphan. Whenever I go by it, its emptiness makes me weepy. Hopefully the Spring will bring out new home buyers.

Edie Ramer said...

Kath, you didn't quit writing or quit school. Good for you! Four months, you can do it!

I think many of us have doubts. I know I do. But at the same time, I write stuff that I know is good. I do have faith in myself, and I have wonderful CPs who give me the kind of feedback your professor gave you.

The next time you feel like quitting, remind yourself of your talk with the professor. You're an A+ writer! That should make you feel better.

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, wouldn't it be cool if my professor moonlighted as a literary agent? LOL

I feel good about my choice. Perhaps, finally, my reinvention is taking hold.

Robin said...

I don't know, Kath, these posts of yours, where you're so insightful and willing to share so much of yourself in such a poignant way, tell me you're already one hell of a writer! Top that off with an A+ and you *are* already very successful.

Best of luck next semester! And no matter what, I'll always be here to root you on!

Kath Calarco said...

Binks, you rock my world, honey! If only you were an editor/agent, my life would be complete.

Thanks for the huge hug!