I don’t even know where to start with last night. I’m in Virginia, a fellow at an artists residency, where sometimes we share what we’re working on. Visual artists have open studios, composers play either live or recorded original music, and writers have readings. Last night, I read from my memoir-in-progress, Terrible Daughter, sharing the stage with another writer.
It went really well! I truly enjoy reading my work for an audience. It was gratifying to hear that people enjoyed it. If you’re a writer and the open-mic thing scares you, take the leap and try it anyway. It’s okay to be scared. This is the only way writers can get immediate feedback and engagement with their craft. And the writing doesn’t have to be perfect or even polished to be a good read.
Woke up at 3 am with a raging tension headache–radiating from the back of my neck down into my shoulders. Or vice versa. It was brutal. And I still have it. Go away, headache! Don’t you know who I am? I’m Very Important and I have Very Important things to do!
So I took it easy today and worked on being okay with taking it easy today. It’s my first day of this residency. Of course I want to work and make myself feel good about working and workity work write write. I’m a writer and stuff with stuff to get done!
I have arrived at my writing residency and all is well. When I was here before, I had a separate room and writing studio, which is the case for most fellows. This time I’m in a small apartment so I’ll work and sleep in the same place. It’s quite spacious and I have a mini-fridge. Score!
Listen, I don’t know what I’m doing. I just want to say that up front. I know what I’m doing, as in I know how to write. But I’m having a tricky time figuring out my psychology right now. I did not thrive under quarantine, as I mentioned before. Creatively it was a really tough challenge.
Tomorrow I’m traveling to an east coast writing retreat where I was granted an eighteen day fellowship. I’m excited to go, and it almost feels weird, because nothing fun has really happened in the last year and a half. Two birthdays in quarantine, conferences moved online, no travel just for enjoyment. I miss the world.
I was awarded a fellowship here once before. I spent the entire month of January 2020 working on my memoir, hanging out with writers in all genres, with visual artists working in multiple mediums, with composers making all kinds of music. Nothing to me is so generative and downright comforting as hanging out with my tribe. We all get it. Art is everything and art is really hard and it’s the best.