Wednesday, January 27

Strange Soul Fellows

Posted by Shelly Holder

I've had a growing suspicion about myself, and tonight I have confirmed my discovery.

I am not a poet's poet. In fact, I'm rather like a cat, that bristles at the approach of another. There's internal hissing and spitting involved, and believe me, it ain't pretty.

I'm rather ashamed of my jealousy and envy, especially in light of my work with critINK. For some reason, I can function perfectly well in that setting, but stick me in classroom and things go BOOM.

I love editing. I really do. I love working with other writers, and I love peer review. I love the whole philosophy of critINK, which is that social interaction- feedback, collective brainstorming, and general discussion- aids the entire creative writing process. I firmly believe that the idea of the solitary writer stuck in an attic is a detrimental stereotype- not only to the public perception of writing, but also to the insiders idea of how writers should act. Writing is not a secret society or a monastery- it has no rituals, regulations, or universals. Writing is an expression of the individual, and like each individual is unique.

Regardless of my conviction, and regardless of my better judgment, I still become crippled in the presence of other writers. I probably battle most with insecurity. I didn't take myself seriously as a writer for a long time, and those ingrained habits are hard to beat out of yourself. So encountering another writer who is serious and ambitious about his/her craft, especially one achieving milestones like publication younger than I did, sends me into a primal sort of temper tantrum. I should look to them as examples, as models, but instead I go off in a green cloud.

I am motivated by these people, but in a "I'll show you" way. It's the wrong sort of motivation, even if it does get the results I need. I can only hope that I will slowly mature into the type of professional that can accept other writers' success.

Right Now:
What I'm listening to: "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga
What I want most: chips and salsa