Contrary to the proverb, March came in like a lamb and out like a lion this year in New England. Hopes for an early spring were dashed by late snowfall.
Its a good excuse to put off spring cleaning though, and hunker down like an indoor cat to get more writing done.
Last month’s writing workshop in Boston left me with more valuable information and connections than I could have hoped for. Besides, hearing and talking about books and writing all weekend long, with other people who wanted nothing more than to talk about books and writing, was glorious.
In addition, I received the encouragement and resources to go ahead and get my book proposal done. A book propossal is easily a fifteen page document, and I was looking forward to starting the process. But with the culmination of any significant event, like the weekend workshop, I needed time to digest before moving on.
It’s like having a gourmet meal; upon finishing, we don’t immediately move on to the next meal. That’s how life can feel; the good, the bad and the mediocre all have to be absorbed, and preferably with adequate time in between. I prefer to feel like I’m having a fine dining experience, or at a delectable buffet, rather than being a pig at the trough.
When I’m overstuffed, I feel a little sick, uncomfortable, rushed. I want to assimilate everything at a pace that feels natural, and preferably write about some of it. For me, writing it down really cinches the experience.
But upon returning from the writer’s workshop, it was time to prepare for a Moth story GrandSLAM. I was thrilled to get to participate in this next stage of the Moth and wanted to give it my best. At the same time, it was difficult to keep feelings of fear at bay. I told very few people that it was coming up. Writing a story down is one thing, with many chances for corrections and rewrites, but live storytelling is quite another experience altogether.
Fortunately, it went well and was a great, albeit nerve-wracking, experience. Besides telling my story, I got to hear eight other fabulous stories, each of them unique.
My only regret was the ten second brain freeze I had on stage. Well my husband says it was only ten seconds. Another storyteller said it was ‘forgiveable, no big deal’. Maybe they are being kind. It felt like an eternity to me. The silent space, as brief as it may have been, was long enough for thoughts to rush in. Thoughts like these:
Oh no, Im not speaking.
If I don’t speak now, things could end very, very badly.
I could pass out and have to be carried off the stage.
I thought my period was almost over. Why am I suddenly gushing blood down there?
Am I hemorrhaging?
Moments like this making me grateful for any trauma or setback that I have suffered in the past. I know I’m resilient.
That mental space of even if the worst happens I will survive comes in handy when on the brink of utter failure or humiliation. In a way, it makes you untouchable. It stops the bleeding.
Seconds later (or was it minutes?) I harnessed my story from my hijacked mind, and it flowed out, thank God. As usual the audience was wonderful, but the most touching comment came from a young man who looked to be about eighteen.
“I needed to hear that story. Thank you”, he said, which made the preparation and the nerves and the harrowing brain freeze all worthwhile.
So as I have been assimilating the events of the past month, I have gotten behind on some things like emails and phone calls and laundry and blogging and editing. But I’m catching up now, and ready to take on the book proposal, and hoping I can get it done as quickly and as surely as the sun is melting the snow.
I am reminded of a time when one of my daughters was in Kindergarten. She appeared to be daydreaming intead of preparing for the day. I told her it was time to get ready for school today.
Exasperated, she responded with this:
But I wasn’t finished with yesterday!
And I knew exactly what she meant.