It has been a while since I have written here, which is by no means indicative of how much writing I have done. After graduating from my MFA program in July, my life became a whirlwind of submissions to agents, literary journals and contests. Just like what was happening in my late summer garden, it was a time to harvest the results of my hard work. Or, that is what my overly optimistic self thought. To be sure, there is interest in my manuscript and many things are still floating around in the ethereal world of Submittable. But summer has suddenly given way to fall. The rains have come, the sky is grey and my energy wanes. The obvious rewards and encouragement of both my fecund garden and writing program are behind me and I feel adrift. Amidst the doubting voices in my head and the hungry need of my wallet, I am learning the discipline of writing. The keep-doing-it-even-when-you-dont-see-any-obvious-results work. The get-your-ass out-of-bed-no-matter-how-dark-it-is requirement. For work it is – not in terms of how hard it is, but because it is what feeds me (albeit only creatively right now). It needs to be done with the regularity of brushing my teeth or slogging off to my retail job. Even when the external rewards are few, the inner peace of knowing I am doing what I am supposed to do for some small part of every day is enough to get me through the lulls.
Fall is my favorite season – a time of renewal, an introspective going within and time of preparation. Even though this summer I wanted nothing more than what every other Creative Writing MFA grad wants (a six-figure publishing deal along with my diploma), I am taking using this fall season to deepen my craft and my commitment to it. To dive deeply into it with dedication that far exceeds the previous requirements of grad school deadlines. My obligation is now only to myself – a much harder commitment than any external deadline I have had. Some days are an absolute a slog through the mental mud and the real and literary skies are often leaden black. But there are those crisp autumn days when I kick over a pile of dead leaves to reveal an entire colony of life below. That is when I remember that it is not all gloom and doom and if I keep scratching just below the surface, I will find unceasing richness that is waiting for the right timing. The same rules apply to writing as to gardening – fall is the time to prepare the soil and maintain faith. Faith is everything, and much happens below the surface. And so, coffee in hand, I do the work of writing and gardening and continuing to believe…..