Thursday, April 12, 2007

Call Me Sybil

Yesterday was an odd day. I spent a fair bit of my working day writing code, something I don't do much lately but enjoy tremendously when I get to take on an interesting challenge.

I drove home blasting The Fixx' Reach The Beach--a favorite from way back--and feeling pretty high.

After an hour at home, I headed off for the writing class. Even before class started, I had two interesting conversations with nearly-perfect strangers.

But, soon after the opening bell, my mood began to change--collapse would be a better word for it, I suppose. I made a few comments on other people's writing that sounded insipid or absurd, and I couldn't seem to connect solidly with the going's on around me.

Then my mind wandered a bit as I began to get annoyed with myself for my general lack of focus. I wondered if my new-found interest in flash fiction was a deflection from the hard work I still need to do on my novel.

Eventually, my most recent story, a 500 word piece of flash fiction destined for an online writing contest, came up for critique. Mostly, the reviews weren't good. This didn't bother me, really, since I do take my own advice about seeking out and taking advantage of strong criticism. But there was an awkward sort of vacuum at the beginning of the discussion of the story. Is that pity I hear ringing in the silent air?

It was only thanks to an insightful suggestion at the break that I came away having any clue how to improve the story.

In the second half of the festivities, I braved the waters again and commented on another writer's work. This time, as I heard myself, I thought, Am I as big a bloviating half-wit as I sound to my ears? And thus, my commentary came to an end.

I'm not generally a moody person (ignore the derisive cackling you hear in the background; it's my wife and she takes issue with that statement. It's My Blog. My Story.) I'm also not usually riddled with all-encompassing self-doubt. But last night I felt incompetent to even take command of the simplest conversation. A fraud as far as the eye could see. A tortured genius minus the vital genius part.

Bedtime couldn't come soon enough.

Fortunately, this morning I awoke with the clouds having parted. I even felt mildly optimistic.

As I drove to work, I remembered a blog post I had read very recently and a quote that was its central theme:

If I don't feel like a fraud at least once a day, then I'm not reaching far enough


Andy said...

Thanks so much for checking in on the blog! Cheers from Chicago...

Trevor Hambric said...

No problem. Even a quick perusal of you sight leaves me winded for all the stuff you do. Is sleep not on the agenda?