And then came the last Friday Feedback… or was it? Gae Polisner posted one more feedback for today, August 7th, which I will soon add my voice to. Yippee! I’m so excited that TeachersWrite Camp has me WRITING ALOUD HERE! It was my inspiration for starting this blog.
But, first, here is what I submitted for Selene Castrovilla‘s lesson on voice, and what a lesson it was!
Gae, thank you for all of your encouragement and for providing this amazing venue for writers- yes, writers. You’ve made me believe. I count myself with the group called “Writers”, and I am most assuredly a teacher who IS writing after 4 weeks of TW camp. I filled my new writer’s notebook and am on to the next. And, Gae, this week’s submission is because of you. I am “writing that scene” that I summarized last week, albeit a bit broader. It’s a narrative that I hope will bring that day to life. For now it is unfinished, but I am sharing a draft of the first five paragraphs. It is rough and first pass.
Selene, if my piece has any voice, it will be because I was thinking of your lessons the whole time I was writing. What word choices, details, observations will pump up the voice? I hope that I applied some of my learning to this piece. I know that I will continue to mine your advice as I revisit this narrative in revisions. Thank you for being here to share your wisdom!
With regard to your excerpt, Joey-Now, I particularly loved the get-in-your-head internal dialogue that provides a window into the character of Joey, while also giving a colorful illustration of his teacher. The truths revealed make these people real to me. Your writing is captivating! I read the first five pages of MELT after downloading it on Thursday, and I had to stop because I didn’t have the time to read it all, and I could tell that I was being instantly swept up into the twister that would be this tale! I LOVE that it is in verse, and the voice of the narrator is sharp, biting, and all-consuming. I will be eating this book whole this week. Thank you for sharing your writing and your writing advice!
Here is my excerpt:
I’m not a superstitious person, except that I am. It seems silly, and strange, and it doesn’t really match up with my logical brain, and I won’t admit it out loud, but there you have it. I can be surprisingly superstitious. And all I can say is that I am thankful the numbers were with me on the day I had to say goodbye to my baby. All the numbers lined up. Can you imagine how much more of a wreck I would have been if they hadn’t? But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last Friday, my husband and I loaded up the car and took our 22-year-old son to New York City. Not for a visit. Not for a family vacation. But, to put him on a plane. To Japan. To live. For a year. Or two. Can you feel my heart beating faster? It was as visceral a countdown as the one leading up to that child’s birth, and it’s result was the opposite– he left home instead of coming home with us. I actually thought I might break, the ache I was feeling was so palpable.
But I was denying that ache. I wanted to stay rooted in joy. I am so freaking proud of that boy. I am so excited for him. I am so awed by what he has accomplished already. I looked at him as we ate dinner the night before, and I told him what I’ve been telling him for years, “I would like you even if you weren’t mine.” Jeremy smiled back at me with that Mom-you-can-be-so-goofy-but-I-love-that-about-you grin. It was adorable. It melted my heart. Stick with happy, I reminded myself.
When I woke last Friday morning, that ache was threatening to swallow me whole, and I swallowed it down to the base of my belly, and prepared for the day. This is when it’s a relief to have practical life things to think about. “Did you turn off the fan in your room?” “I’ll carry your backpack out to the car.” Oooof! His bags are in the car. We pulled out of the driveway, and proceeded to fill the time with mostly idle chitchat, and a few last-minute reminders. The sky was a clear, blue, bright. Auspicious, I thought. And, we made excellent time, arriving at the hotel moments before 9:00 AM. We were ahead of schedule. My nerves settled a bit. My superstitious self relieved that time was on our side (for now, don’t speak your worries aloud!).
In the back seat, Jeremy had fallen fast asleep, a reminder of countless road trips, and a smaller child. I turned to my husband, Eric, and suggested that I go in to find out if our son’s room was ready. It wouldn’t be ready until 10:30. “How about we drive around and let him…” “…sleep like when he was little?” my husband dovetailed his response with mine. Exactly what I was thinking. And so, we drove in a great big loop, and Jeremy slept soundly until we hit a patch of crater-like bumps that disrupted his reverie. To my relief, he woke up chipper, buttons reset. He was disbelieving when we told him we’d already been to the hotel. “We let you sleep.” It all felt reminiscent of times passed, but tinged with a new feeling—time’s up, this child is fully baked—9 months plus 22 years of wing making.