Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Not Quite Iowa Writers'* Workshop

Tonight I watched my daughter suffer through her first crisis of confidence of the writerly sort. On Friday, she shone with excitement as she handed me the green entry form for the school's writers' club. By Sunday night she had come up with a list of excuses as to why she should not join.

Earlier in the day I had read one of those intimidating articles about bright young things who attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop and landed publishing gigs before turning 35. While impressed, I was more depressed than inspired. And then I read a poem my divine aunt sent me as inspiration for my own writing and while I loved the poem I again sunk a little lower in my seat, convinced yet again that I was a fool for even trying.

So tonight, not wanting to pass on this perpetual crisis of confidence, I packed my daughter in the car and took her on a nighttime writing adventure. I ordered her to bring green form, pencil and book. I came armed with laptop, newspaper and book. And as I now write about her writing she is sitting beside me filling in her first writers' workshop application.

It may not be Iowa, but it is fabulous. It is getting the sense that you can do this thing that you love and surrounding yourself with other people who feel the same way.**

"Less popcorn, more writing" I say as the cafe prepares to close.

"I am writing" she says, scratching out a few more sentences.

And so am I.

*Advance apologies to my Apostrophe Bitches. You know who you are and that I love you. I am doing my best but am 100% sure that my apostrophobic ways have led to a 50% success rate in this post.
**My own personal Iowa is in fact found right here in blogland. I am 100% sure I am not the only one who feels this way.


Sif said...

I'm not entirely sure what Iowa is (a state, I know, but what else is it representing?), but other people's inspiring stories can have just the opposite affect sometimes... You can write (I don't tell just anyone that), so just keep plugging away at it!

mamabook said...

First, big thank you for big compliment. Means a lot coming from you.
The Iowa Writers' Workshop is the first of its sort in North America and possibly the best. I read today 40 out of last 80 (or something like that) Pulitzer Prize (biggest literary prize in US) winners attended it and it is extraordinarily difficult to get into. There is a link to the article I read today in my post if you are interested - and the interviewer is Curtis Sittenfeld. I loved both her books.

Sif said...

Oh wow, I've never heard of it before (which isn't saying much, lol!). Will check it out!

Amanda said...

Unfortunately I *have* heard of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and it makes me feel similarly intimidated! I absolutely love your ** about your own personal Iowa. I think I'll adopt this mantra too.

But back to the real topic - how cool is it that your daughter is interested in writing? I will be thrilled if my son grows up that way. And to have a parent who's interested and knows something about it - that would be fabulous. I hope your daughter has a great experience at the writers' club.

asampler said...

Michelle, I think you should join a writers' group too. I go to one every month & it's helped me finish a first draft & keep going with the rewriting of a novel. The support & feedback from other writers is fantastic - more immediate than blogging, especially if you have a piece of fiction in mind. And I say that not because I think you need help, but because I think you are a talented writer.
Wonderful news about your daughter.
And I reckon you get an A for your apostrophes!

4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle said...

I'm always terrified of sharing. Every. single. thing. I write, I then read later and decide was TERRIBLE. You are a beautiful writer, I love reading your stuff and I loved the picture of you and your daughter sitting together writing. Just gorgeous.


Denwise aka Denyse Whelan said...

Michelle.... You are to be congratulated on being such a strong & confident mama to your dd. I say this with utmost admiration because I know how hard it is to watch "one of us act like we have & we know how it feels". That is such a great step you've taken for yourself & DD.
The writing thing is great.
You are being the writer encouraging another writer!
All good stuff. Your aunt will be smiling broadly methinks!!

Joana Lonadon said...

Oh, my daughter is just 1.5 year old, and we have other problems now, but I was curious how you manage a problem of this kind... I think that you are a great mom, please keep on sharing your experience!

therhythmmethod said...

This is wonderful. What a gift for your girl.
I have similar crises of confidence, but I figure I'll never be a writer if I don't write. I think your writing is amazing. xx

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