The Unbearable Density of Confidence

Self-Confidence Ahem. Over here. See me? I’m that invisible girl in the corner. I’m the joists, nails, and boards just behind the wallflower.

Long gone are the days when “talks too much” and “finishes work early and distracts classmates” were written on my report card.

That said, I began this blog—if neither a writecraft chiseler nor an editorial bonesaw—to trephine something consequential from me and put it on the ephemeral e-page. Given that some of my writing here has smacked of semi-autobiography (either that or it’s been flattened by the semi wheels of autobiography), this self-exposure has not always been a lingering tiptoe through two-lipped prose. Rather, it has at times been a steeltrap bandolier across the throat and chest. The clink of a prison door closing, a book’s cover shut with the bite force of a saltwater crocodile. But I hyperbolize!

This blog represents the confidence I’d like to wrest from the jaws of stoicism and regret, my willingness to kill my prose darlings and invite you to silver bullet them, too.

In life, Jacob Marley was . . . Erm, in my real life, I’m a more or less ordinary uniquity: mom, wife, reader, writer, editor, jogger/runner, gardener, Nature-lover, musician wannabe, eater of delicious Indian dals and Greek delicacies (among many other favorites), overindulger of chocolates and sweets and herbal teas, introvert, and fellow passenger on Spaceship Earth. With the vagaries, confidences, anxieties, plans, and scars most other people possess.

“I am large, I contain multitudes.”

I can’t claim those lines. Poet Walt Whitman wrote them in “Song of Myself.” But, thanks to Chris Donner’s clarion call to self-expression, I get to wax philosophical on myself, which evokes a certain amount of existential discomfort. But if this blog is to be a creative expression, as much as I shy away from confessionals, then this post is the full flowering of that unease. It is an experiment in creative confidence as much as i-want-confidence-kitten-lionself-confidence. (Read more about creative confidence here.)

Let this blog and, moreover, this post be the opening keystrokes to bringing that anxious, frightened girl out of her lonely corner. And into your world. I’m ever-grateful that you invited her (okay, me!) in for a spell.

From perspiration to creation

Hands strain, bone on blank wood. Limbering the lines demands a gymnast agile to what waits. To satisfy any critic is a balance; words, an avoirdupois. Writing is a willingness to be bruised.

balancebeam-Wikipedia

Gymnast Dorina Böczögő performs a one-arm press hold on the balance beam mount. From Wikimedia Commons, by user Alby.1412. Please consider purchasing some of his amazing sports photography, which includes winter sports.

Flash fiction written for the last one-word Trifecta Challenge, week 114.

Words Matter Week: Day 5

Thursday
What person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully? What would you say to them if you met them today?

Five, five, words alive! Welcome to Thursday, Day 5 of Words Matter Week (WMW).

Mentoring-team-success-Make A Living Writing, Carol Tice

Many professional writers today offer mentoring services. One such writer is Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing. I found this graphic at Carol’s site. If you’re not interested in mentorship, at the very least check out her thriving writing community.

This was one of the more difficult WMW prompts for me. For I’ve been fortunate in my life to have several people who guided me toward a love of words, as well as being in situations simpatico—even if some of them were very adverse at the time—to the creative process. And who hasn’t been inspired by authors, journalists, musicians, photographers, artists, advocates, historians, or dancers from the world at large, outside our bubbles of direct experience? As I’ve already mentioned many of those literary mentors at my post here, I won’t enumerate them again this week. But I will send a digital shout-out to those word-folk who helped forge my love of wordsmithing.

Mentors Extraordinaire:

For Mrs. H: Thank you for sticking by me when I wasn’t the best, the brightest, or the most well-behaved student. It was because of you that I realized that spelling and diagramming sentences were important.

For Mrs. B: The daily journaling I did in your class was an invaluable experience to me as a young writer. That you believed in my writing (a satire piece) enough to suggest I send it to a literary magazine astounds me still today, and I thank you heartily for all you did as a mentor to encourage me to prop up my angsty self-esteem.

For Ms. F: You were tough, but you taught me how to write a good, evidence-based essay and to explore the canon. And when to blaze into other literary territories.

For Uncle J: You broadened my world experiences by taking me to a play, a symphony, and other artistic endeavors, as well as introducing me to other cultures and the notion that I could reach beyond our own limited, if upland, borders.

For Professors F and S: Artists in your own right, you whose professionalism and creativity remain real-world models of poetry-writing that I aspire to today. I humbly thank you.

For Dr. R: I owe so much of my thesis’ success to your guidance. You were the balanced and involved male intellectual I ‘d not had the privilege of knowing enough of in my life. You—if no one else—taught me several salient facts:

  1. Words slip, slide, perish, and sometimes break.
  2. Hard work and even harder study can pay off.
  3. Literature can be a passion, and maybe even a comfortable disease (i.e., a lifelong profession).
  4. There are worse things than to be a swinger of birches. Also, homo ludens. And Faulkner and Frost can be fun!
  5. Sandra Bullock makes some people’s “teeth sweat,” as yours.
  6. When in doubt, seek out a covey of quail. (Okay, to be fair, I don’t kill animals; I do, however, shoot them in photographs whenever I’m able.)
  7. I suspect there’s a hell of a good universe where you are now. I would say “let’s go,” but I have miles to go before I sleep (hope springs eternal, anyway). How’s that for mixing poets, Dr. R?

I will share Day 6 (Friday) later today, friends. Meanwhile, trip the light blogtastic and visit NAIWE’s WMW site for Friday’s prompt.