21 April 2013

Book recommendation, ROW80 check-in

Before I do anything else, I want to recommend the book Wedlocked by Jay Ponteri. In a nutshell, it's a memoir about a man who suffers from depression and feels a lack of connection both with himself and with his wife and ends up having emotional affairs with other women.  I finished reading it this week. It's incredibly sad, but also incredibly interesting and, in a way, hopeful. It offers a model for being truly honest with ourselves and others...which perhaps is a bit ironic, since the narrator admits to lying so much to himself and to his wife.

I will admit that I probably wouldn't even know about this book were it not for the fact that I used to work with Jay. Regardless, I maintain that it's an incredibly worthwhile read, especially for those who wish to write honestly and openly about their experiences as human beings, especially those experiences with which our culture is intensely uncomfortable to the point of deafening silence.

What I'm saying is that this book has inspired me to write creative non-fiction again and to be honest with myself and others about my feelings and experiences. There is no greater gift.

Okay. Now here's my progress on my ROW80 goals this week:

1. Be a ROW80 sponsor.
So far so good! I continue to read and comment on assigned participants' check-ins as scheduled, and as you can see from last week's post, it's been a thought-provoking experience for me.

2. Write my chapter of the chain story I mentioned in this post
Still not my turn yet, thank goodness.

3. Do three public readings.
Week before last I registered for the next Fridays on the Boulevard open mic at The Attic Institute. If I manage to get on the list of readers, this will count as my second public reading, with the third one already scheduled for the end of May.

4. Continue to try to get more involved in the local writing community.
a) This week I met with a well-known local poet to discuss an opportunity to get more involved with a well-known establishment in the local writing community, and he encouraged me to follow through with what I'd been thinking about. At this time, specific details are classified.
b) Met up with a fellow writer for an in-person writing session early this week at a coffee shop. We ran into one of her friends, also a writer, whom I'd met at the Art Spark event...was it last month? (Time is funny like that.) I asked them both if they'd be willing to be interviewed about their writing process, and they both agreed. Which means I have just committed myself to doing interviews for this blog. Just one a month, nothing fancy, but ultimately (hopefully) very useful to self and others.
c) Also got together mid-week with another writer friend for an in-person writing session. We did a lot of talking about writing (and many other interesting subjects), but not much writing. Still, we bounced some ideas off each other, so it wasn't a total fail. We agreed that next time we'll try doing writing sprints to see if that's more productive.
d) Submitted a story to my peer writing group tonight for our first workshop session next week. It's a very short story that I started working on during the last round of ROW80 and got stuck on because I'm trying to do some things with it that might be a little beyond my current skill level. I'm excited to get feedback, hopeful that my peers will help me see what I can do with it.

5. Continue to write monthly articles for VoiceCatcher
Completed the article about Diane English and the birth of VoiceCatcher. It should go up on the site on May 20th. Goal for this coming week: line up the next interviewee.

6. Focus on my pseudonym's novel.
Grr. Grrrr!Totally failing on this one still and it's driving me nuts! You know what I did this week instead? Started a new project. A creative non-fiction project. Under a new pseudonym. And it demands to be written NOW. Just check me into the mental ward, please.

7. Try to stop trying to do too much.

8. Apply for writing fellowships/grants.
Fellowship application guidelines have finally been posted on the Literary Arts website! Have only just begun to look them over, and thankfully they're not due until the end of June.

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