The mail came today. The mail comes many days but today it included the manuscript excerpts for the upcoming January workshops. I was almost afraid to pick it up.
Why? All it contained were the ten excerpts from from everyone in my workshop, that can’t be too scary, could it? Actually, it could, because this the first round of seeing where my writing stands side-by-side with others in the same boat. As much as I tell myself this isn’t a competition or a popularity contest I can’t help thinking of all this work in comparison, me versus them, me and my words against the world.
I think it’s the classic struggle that somehow gets internalized, the writer fighting against the vast expanse of the blank page, to get published, to find an audience once and for all. I now have that audience but it’s a captive audience, an audience of peers, which is what makes it a little more tense.
But I can’t look at all this writing right now. I’m spending the week finishing my most recent set of reviews and getting ready for the holidays with family. Maybe next week I’ll settle in for a first read, a “reader’s read” just to get a sense of story and scope. Let that all sot for a while, read some more books on process and style, then hunker down for the serious workshop read-throughs in January.
New year, new me, new stories, new world.