Mentoring Up!

I’d already marked October off as the month to get going on the rewrite. Deep Roots, Tall Sky has been sitting on my desk, in my drawer, and on several hard drives, mostly untouched since I finished the first draft last year. I needed a break. I needed enough distance to see it clearly. And I needed some more experience before I could turn what was essentially a too-long Middle Grade Novel into a compelling book for adults. But now I needed to get to work.

Then last week I heard from the AWP Writer to Writer program that I’d been selected as part of their Autumn 2019 class. Woo hoo!

Three months of conversation, critiques and hand-holding with a published author is pretty much exactly what I need right now. Deadlines! Advice! I’m in.

My mentor is Kim Chinquee, a master of Flash Fiction and professor at Buffalo State. We’ve agreed to meet weekly via Skype, to go over questions offered up by AWP, and to discuss my pages. Again – Woo hoo! Deadlines! Advice!

Thank you AWP for creating this program, and inviting me in.

#AWPW2W, #AWPMentorship.

Returning to the Source

When you have too many jobs it’s easy to get lost, especially if you’re the sort of person who thrives on committing to their work. Which I am. It’s been decades since I had a job I wasn’t willing to give my all to–bodywork, writing, being a mother, caring for my dad, fixing up my house.

All of these are things I love. But sometimes my attention gets pulled in too many directions, so I narrow it. I funnel my focus into a project, a task, a specific area of my life. It’s a form of being in the moment. Which is great, right? Except that each kind of task requires a different kind of thinking, of being, of awareness. And I find it very difficult to quickly switch from one mode of thinking to another.

Perhaps my mind is not as agile as it could be. I read of writers fitting their novel in before breakfast, or in fifteen minute increments here and their throughout their day. This is not me. I seek my stories in place long buried by time or emotional shielding. They don’t easily rub up against the aesthetic awareness of picking paint.

So in order to write, in order to reach the parts of my brain available to particular atmospheres of truth, I sink into caffeine-fueled meditation, I do yoga, I walk. I wait until I find the words, or they find me, and then I follow them. I look around from inside the source of the story and describe what I see.

You might say I get lost here, too.