Grad School Friend and I fell out of touch. She moved to upstate New York and then out west. Then one day I saw her name somewhere. It took me a minute to connect her full name with my grad school friend. I was pretty sure it was the same person, but I clicked on her website just to be sure, and read one of her essays. Ah, yes, this was definitely my friend. Killer prose backed up by killer transitions. I don’t choose my friends lightly.
When we finally reconnected, she said that she remembered how we talked about politics one day after workshop. She remembers me saying that we write our beliefs, because we (at least her and me) are introverted people who aren’t good at political organization. But what we can do is write.
My words are coming back to haunt me. I’ve been having a hard time writing on this blog because this is really just a place for me to vent my first-world non-immigrant memoir problems. I can finely articulate my writing and editing outrages, but there are larger outrages I should be yelling about.
This week I have begun working on The Fucker again. It will not save the world. But it will be the best thing I can write, I hope. And I will justify my petty complaints here, but hoping that you will find solace in them as you write your own Fucker, and that your own Fucker will do its wordy little share in helping to save the world.
I learned empathy and a sense of history, in part, from reading books (and articles). Both George Orwell and Albert Camus will tell you that describing something in the kind of detail that makes the reader really see something as if for the first time, rather than relying on cliches and “received phrases” is a political act. (I think it was Camus who wrote that if the person reading the paper with his morning coffee knew what really happened when the paper said “justice was served” to describe an execution, that is, if it were described as if the person were there, the reader would spit out his coffee.)
I guess what I’m saying is that I can’t give up on literature. So today I’m working on radical revision of my least favorite chapter. I’ve rewritten and rewritten it, and it just doesn’t work. So. Time to write it differently. And just in case your think my words are cool, calm, and collected, I’ll tell you that I almost cried at my writing group yesterday from frustration about this chapter. They didn’t even critique me; we just sit in cafes and write together. Peer pressure.
How are you balancing anger, fear, frustration, and writing?