Tag Archives: Susan J Tweit

Persisting

So, last Tuesday evening, I received an email from my best friend, saying he was in town for a few days, wanted to stay at my place. Even though Wednesday and Thursday are my days off, and I had plans for writing on other things, what other choice did I have, but to say, Yes? So, Jack stayed and I had to figure how to have both him and my writing. As you’d likely figure, Jack won and my writing paid the most for it. Even so, I still was able to make my monthly meeting with another writer who mostly does plays, now. And I was also able to do last week’s blogpost, Thursday, as originally scheduled. All wasn’t lost.

This past Saturday, Peter Anderson came to town to conduct a prose poetry workshop. I’m still fuzzy with regards to what constitutes prose poetry, what separates it from, say, essays and vignettes. And while I’m not all that sure that I did much prose poetry during the workshop’s writing sessions, it was good, fruitful writing, nonetheless.

After the workshop, five of us, including Peter, went out for lunch. Peter has more than two fistfuls of published books, and teaches writing on the college level. Lynda LaRocca has been recognized as one the premier local poets since before I ever moved to Colorado, over twenty years ago. She, too, has been published several times, has won bunches of awards, and regularly conducts her own workshops. Laurie James and Barbara Ford are other longtime poets, with histories and connections that stretch far and long.

I was the odd man out, except, I was neither odd nor out. Because it was only the second time I’d seen Peter, I didn’t have the familiarity and connection with him that the other three did. (Lynda and Laurie are in a performance poetry group with Peter, and two others poets.) And I am somewhat a newcomer to poetry, and especially to the local poetry scene. But, I was never made to feel an outsider, as though I didn’t have an earned seat at the table. I held my own without having to scramble or really try. (If it’s only I who thinks I’m the outsider, who sees me as such, then …?)

Some seven years ago, Susan Tweit told me, “You’re farther along than you think.” I’m still strugglng to catch up.

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, Sorting It Out

re: Not Belonging and Brilliance

Last October, I attended my first Talking Gourds, Telluride’s monthly poetry gathering and reading. It was good being in Telluride and seeing some of the locals whom I knew in some fashion or another. However, I was unable to shake off the sense that I didn’t belong, that I was intruding, being the “not from around here” person that I was. Never mind that I was embraced by no fewer than three of the locals, and introduced as something of a special guest, having come from four hours away, at the start of the meeting. Event though I was a poet among other poets, I was not “one of us.”

Thing is, I don’t think I’m all that alone, thinking I’m the oddball, the outsider, the “one of these things isn’t like all the others…” As I spend more time with more people, I’m seeing that it’s the oddball who doesn’t struggle with feeling like the oddball.

In a recent blogpost, Susan J Tweit writes about her feelings of being an outsider. Because she’s a self-taught writer, not trained in any academic writing program, she’s not a “real writer.” Likewise, because she wasn’t able to produce the journal writings of “real science,” she’s not accepted into their ranks, even with her graduate degree in biology. Never mind she’s been a Colorado Book Award Winner x number of times, and has been anthologized close to a countless number of times—she doesn’t belong and is an outsider because she’s “not a real writer.”

Another local writer of my acquaintance, Trish, often gets sucked into the muck of pondering her place in the scheme of things, especially as a writer. During one of these periods, she received a letter from writer she’d crossed paths with a couple of times, and had recently attended a workshop conducted by. It was a brief letter of encouragement, of persisting onward amid the hazy, foggy times. Trish showed me this letter, pointing out the line that stopped her breath midway in her throat: You bring so much to the world, such generosity of spirit, such clean vision (about everything, it seems, except your own brilliance), such kindness.

A lack of being able to see our own brilliance: Isn’t this what we all, each of us, suffers from?

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, Staying With the Writing

The Age Thing, Part II

Now that I’ve had time to think about it, this “Age Thing” I wrote about last time is pretty much “full of prunes,” as my mom would say. We each come to our callings, our tuggings, at differing stages of our lives. Yeah, maybe I am getting a late start, writing-wise, (which I’m making increasingly later by my whiney and mopey procrastination, by the way), but so what? By all systems of measure, writing is what I want, and am called, to do. So why aren’t I? Because I just turned 50? Sheesh, whatta load of horse-hooey!

Earlier this week, a nearby newly-published writer came to town: Andrea M Jones. In the December issue of Colorado Central, I reviewed her, Between Urban and Wild. So strongly did her writing impress me, I urged the local bookstore to include her in one of their upcoming monthly book readings/signings. On one hand, I wanted Andrea to receive the recognition and expansion of her audience for which her writing was due. (I also figured it’d be a good thing for the bookstore, having her. This same bookstore that’s supported me in all the ten years it’s been open.) On the other hand, I wanted to meet this woman, this writer whom in my review I compared to Annie Dillard, and also Susan J Tweit and Laura Pritchett.

Guess what. Turns out Ms Jones just might be a wee bit older than I. And I don’t think she’s given any notion to her age being an excuse for not writing, for not sending her writings out into the world. So what’s my excuse, now?

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, Staying With the Writing

Why Bother

I was brought up to not bother anybody. During the passing years, this has been transformed into a quiet, behind-the-scenes modus operandi. This is okay and good for dealing with people, especially at work, but it’s not such a good tendency for someone wishing to be a writer, to get their stuff “out there.” Case in point: Susan Tweit had to urge me repeatedly to check with High Country News regarding my essay they’d accepted eight or nine months before, to see where it was in their queue. When I did finally ask, after more than a month of Susan’s persistence, a whirlwind of activity ensued around my essay, which led to it being published not long after my query.

Further, when the local land trust organization recently held a reading at the local independent bookstore, I put off contacting anyone to find out whether I could be added, reading that same HCN essay. Once again, when I finally did ask, just one day before the reading, I was quickly added and included. As it turned out, I was last to read, and was told that my reading gave the event a proper ending.

It’s such a short distance between being brought up not to bother others and seeing yourself as being not worth the bother. In my last blogpost, I showed how this spilled into my perceptions of myself as a writer, and especially with seeing myself as a poet. In both of the mentioned circumstances regarding my High Country News essay, it was only after “bothering” somebody that my writing was finally able to fulfill its intent: to inform and serve.

Of course, this question of, Why bother, also applies at the beginning stages of writing, when envisioning and crafting each piece—even and especially the pieces of writing that never get beyond being just parts and pieces, never becoming wholly completed works. We bother doing the writing, and bother others about our writing, because in each case it turns out to be no bother at all.

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