Thursday, October 13, 2016

Writing about Writing

As a writing teacher, one of the papers that I dread reading (but inevitably run into every few semesters) is a story about the student, as a character in their own story, having writer’s block. How meta! How coyly self-referencing! How incredibly mind-numbing for the teacher who must read essentially the same story again and again and again! (It’s almost as bad as those three years when all my students were writing really bad book reports about The Hunger Games. Shudder.) 

And yet, despite my grumbling, I identify with those students. Sometimes, I don’t know what to write about either, especially on the blog. And I fall into the same trap of writing about how I don’t have anything to write about. (They say you become what you most fear.)

I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff, sure— reading thought-provoking books and articles, discussing ideas with people, etc.— but every time I actually try to get those thoughts onto paper, I fizzle. My heart hurts. I want a snack.

With that said, I have been writing a lot lately. Granted, most of my typed words this week have consisted of, “This is a run-on sentence and here’s how you fix it,” but I’ve also been plugging away at my memoir, cobbling together bits and pieces from my blog series in attempt to make a cohesive (and concise) whole. The memoir is currently 349 pages. I still have more than half of Washington left. I have a lot of butchering to do. 

I also worked this week on finishing up a play that I’ve been co-writing with my brother for his students at Providence Fine Arts Center. This dinner theater, featuring the misadventures of the heirs of a paperclip tycoon’s fortune, will be performed next month, and I’m excited to see it! We’ve been working on and off on the project for many weeks now, so it felt good to finish it. 

These two projects, plus the hours of commenting on papers every week, have wearied my mind and stiffened my neck. And yet I keep coming back to this blog, always eager to talk about my week, always excited to speak to an audience who, for whatever reasons, chooses to listen to me as I type, type, type away. 


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