Friday, May 16, 2008

The World Is Too Much With Me

by Cathy Anderson Corn

My first writer’s group was spawned from a Community College course in creative writing led by teacher Linda Blahut. We took Linda’s class several times, and then some of us gracefully retired to first Linda’s, and then classmate Eleanor’s home for our sessions.

Class continued with tremendous benefits. We weren’t a high-powered, let’s-get-published group. We each read some work in progress and critiqued it, but mostly admired each person’s literary contributions. We supported each other through divorce, sickness, and death, so I guess you might say we were a social group; yet our group helped me keep writing, keep questing for a career then beyond my grasp.

Linda, the teacher, was married with teenage children. Eleanor, a fiercely independent lady who walked with a cane, had survived two marriages and lived with Charley, an energetic, loving spaniel. Ginny, widowed, treated me to dinner and an evening in her hot tub. Roy, a Vietnam vet, had divorced and shared custody of a young daughter. And my friend Vesta confessed to childhood scars, filled dressers with her unpublished novels to handle her angst. She didn’t know how to end her stories, so the protagonist ultimately got run over by a bus.

But the words of Angie, the psychologist of our group, still ring in my memory. Many times we of the circle would read and Angie’s turn would come. She’d look over her dark brown-framed glasses, throw up her empty hands, and apologetically announce, “The world has been too much with me.”

Lately, I’ve been thinking of Angie as I struggle to produce pages, to forge ahead with my novel. Some years I pumped out pages like water from a well, but this hasn’t been one of those years. The well hasn’t run dry, it just trickles at times.

I remember Angie’s words as I plug along and try to keep my project flowing. I would have liked to attend the Pennwriters Conference, but again, the world stepped in and I’m going to a Craniosacral Workshop instead (to expand on my non-writing job which pays the bills).

So, fellow bloggers and readers, has the world been too much with you lately? How do you cope with the rigors of every day living and still produce your works? What distractions in your life cause you to veer off your path to the Pulitzer Prize?

But most of all, anybody out there, or are you all at the Pennwriters Conference? Hope you’re having a great time.


Joyce Tremel said...

Nice post, Cathy! I'm not going to PW this year either. There didn't seem to be much that wasn't geared toward romance or literary fiction.

I haven't been doing much writing either. I have a book plotted and the first chapter written, but I'm in kind of a wait and see mode. I don't want to write a third book in the series if the others aren't going anywhere. I have an idea for another series and a short story started, but that's it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cathy, for a post I can relate to! Life almost always gets in the way, but I usually feel better if I can make some time to write or, if nothing else, read (that's research, right?)!

Good luck with your writing project! We're all in this together!

Anonymous said...

You have a lot going on there, even if you aren't pumping out pages at the moment. It's great you have so many ideas.

Wonderful to hear from you and best wishes with your writing, too.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I'm a west coaster, so I didn't have a real chance to consider going to PW--sounds like a great conference! When my day job cycles up, my daily output in pages falls off. Lately, it always seems as if I'm falling behind in my writing goals. But I've always got a deadline looming over my head to prod me forward...

Anonymous said...

You guys have your own conference? Cool! I just signed up to do a panel at Killer Nashville in August, as practice before Bouchercon. Supposedly I'll be doing a panel there too, and the thought is frightening. I figure I can use all the practice I can get, and especially as the conference is here, it seems worth the trouble, even without a book to sell.

I've been cranking out a lot of pages lately. Another 5000 words or so, and I'm done. Just in time for going to Europe next week! I can send the manuscript to my agent, and come to to tackle all her revisions. Last time her response was, "We have a LOT of work to do!", so I'm not confident...!

Joyce Tremel said...

Hi Kathryn! Nice to see you here again.

Joyce Tremel said...

JB, I did my first panel at last years Pennwriters conference. It was terrifying. Fortunately, I was with other people who liked to talk a lot!

Anonymous said...

this is my local SinC-chapter putting on a panel, so I'll be with people I'm at least familiar with. And once I get up there with a captive audience, I usually do all right. I used to guide tours, and had to talk for two and a half hours straight; if we fell silent for more than a minute, the busdriver would rat us out to the boss. So I can talk. It's just nerve-wracking to get up in front of so many people after living under a rock for so long.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to PW this year, either. A yoga retreat for my 50th birthday got in the way.

I leave Wed. morning and I'm really looking forward to a vacation! I haven't had a day off, except the two when I was sick with the flu, since Jan. 1.