i had some mind blowing experiences this week. and now that i’ve scraped the brains off the walls, i’m here to tell the tale.
experience #1. i had dinner with a grad school friend. her husband calls these dinners our “secret meetings” which makes us feel all kinds of sneaky and spy like, but in all reality, we’re just eating, drinking, giggling, gossiping, and talking writing. i don’t have many writerly friends that i can see IN PERSON on a regular basis and there’s something to be said about sharing a beer while lamenting the lack of character voices in our heads. (and that’s why we’re NOT spies. sometimes, we hear voices. it gets distracting when you’re trying to do recon.)
but the really amazing thing was that she handed over my MS. the one i’ve been working on since before, through, and after grad school. my first love. and also the one i was taking a break from. she’d had it since july, but to be fair, was going through some crazy times and life got in the way. i get it. my writing is not a priority of hers, but in this time when i still haven’t figured out the whole “how to get critique partners” thing, she’s all i’ve got. and it may have taken 4 months, but man, did she deliver. and we talked about my manuscript in-depth 3 different times over the course of the meal! i even got my pen out and started taking notes. i can’t tell you how refreshing that felt. she laid out the weakness and pumped up the strong points and suggested some ideas that got my brain aswirling. i left dinner on a writerly high i haven’t felt since grad school ended. and i left excited about my first love MS all over again. i felt like a real writer (for probably the third time in my life). i left there with attainable goals of what to fix and how to fix it. that was the most delicious part.
experience #2. i played squash again. of course i lost every single match, but my serve is consistently in and i am hitting some hot shots and most importantly, i am getting on the scoreboard. sure, i keep forgetting the ball doesn’t bounce and so i wind up in a tennis motion only to swing and hit air. (yeah, it’s as embarrassing as it sounds). but for only having played the game twice, for a total of 2 hours, my improvement is pretty rapid, i must say. so much so that i’m thinking about getting my own gear. (Santa, you listening?) this game is addicting. it’s refreshing. it’s exhilarating. it’s FAST. and it gives me an attainable goal. beat my coworker. that is the most delicious part.
but the thing i learned that splattered my brains across the walls?
i realized that i can’t do this alone.
you can’t play squash by yourself and you can’t write all by yourself. sure, i’m in charge of my own production (whether it’s returning a shot or writing a novel), but you need a teammate there to return the volley or spin you around and point you down the path towards THE END.
i’ve had teammates all my life, in the form of soccer and lacrosse and basketball and tennis teams and siblings and friends and cousins. why is it so shocking that i still need them?
probably because i’m a perfectionist and when i set my mind to do something, i know (read: i think) that the best way to get it done is to do it my way. but that isn’t always right and frankly, it gets lonely. i’m tired of that. i’m ready to accept any and all forms of help. whether it’s in the shape of a squash racket, manuscript critiques, or a RAH RAH YOU CAN DO IT from the sidelines.
epiphanies are exhausting.
(or maybe it’s just all that running around the squash court.)