keeping positive in my waking life…

Last night R and I met for our monthly creative session where there were libations and discussions about life, art and all that is in between. We had inadvertently taken the summer off because of some things that were going on with him, so we have decided to double up our meeting times in the next month so to make up for “lost time.”

One of the things that we talked about was the first fifty pages of the book. R has seen the concept from before I even knew exactly what the concept was so I was looking forward to what he thought about the pages. I found his feedback invaluable because he picked up on things that I was not quite conscious of as well as finding some nuggets that I hoped people would see when they did read it.

It is nice to know that I am not only funny to myself.

Upon finishing the next section of the novel on Sunday, I realized that I had written 100 pages in Part Two and had moved some sections into Part Three. With the first fifty pages well underway, it looks like I am pushing 200 pages of what, I joke, might be considered prose. There is a lot of clean up to do, but if R’s comments are anything to take to heart, it seems that I clean things up pretty well.

I have begun to notice the difference between when I am writing for the sake of writing and when the writing is clean and concise. I think the process of writing for the sake of writing is equally important because many times I find an important thread that I can use somewhere else. I think it allows me to work through things like I do in my personal journals, but this time it is regarding the characters and plot as opposed to my own “stuff.”

I had one of those dreams last night though. I know that you know the ones where you wake up and you are late for something and screw everything up. Well, in this dream, I got distracted by a family matter which doesn’t exist in my waking life, and completely forget to be somewhere important. When I look at my watch, it is ten to eleven and I am late late late for an important date. When I get to the auditorium, my name is written on a black board but I have been passed over for someone else who was on time. And the instructor, who was the writer I worked with in Banff, tells me that I get a B-. And no matter how I tried to fix it or get another chance, it was done, over.

A classic failure dream if there ever was one. In a way, I am glad to play these out in my dream life as opposed to my waking life so that I do get to my appointments on time!

A friend of mine from work is a wonderful musician and has suggested that I take this vocal class at the Royal Conservatory of Music. I used to take courses there when I studied piano and I have missed singing a great deal. There is a Repertory Choir that meets once a week. This past weekend, I played piano a couple of times reaching back into the part of me that not only loves to play, but needs to as well. I get this buzzing feeling right down to my bones which I only get when I am in the writing zone.

Reconnecting with my writing self is bringing me back to my music self too. I never quite believed that they were connected, but the more I write, I see that they indeed are part of the same creative self.


About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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