Out of all of my writer friends I…

Out of all of my writer friends, I consider myself one of the laziest. So, this week, when I spent $150 dollars to get my 10 year old, hoopty, computer out of computer nirvana and back to the land of the living, I was shocked to find a treasure trove of writing.

Now, nothing is longer than a few pages of wild notes, but looking through them reminded me of a time when i wasn’t preoccupied with a fear of writing. I was excited to try something new. It’s like the time I tried to learn how to do a backflip at 17. The gymnastics teacher at my high school refused to teach me. He said you have to start when you’re fearless. He never taught anyone older than 13 or so how to do one. Well, i tried to do it anyway and ended up breaking my foot because i pulled out of my tuck too early. I was scared.

Writing can be like that. It’s easy to write when you know nothing, when you are fearless. It’s harder now. For me at least. And i’m not really lazier than my writer friends, but I am more scared. They have learned to keep their knees pressed to their chests all the way through the tuck. I’m still breaking my own feet.

However, and back to the point of all of this. There once was a time when I was fearless. I had forgotten that. So, I have a writing goal for the next week. Write a first draft, as reckless and messy and sloppy as necessary of a short story. And to do it fearlessly.


About Brett Duquette

He's a children's book editor by day and a hockey fanatic by night. Brett spent two years of his childhood in South Dakota where he took hockey lessons. Once he learned it was impossible to skate backwards, he tossed aside his puck (well, actually he threw it at his brother and lodged it into the drywall that he then covered with a poster of Barry Sanders) and devoted his life to basketball. But when greedy owners and players made orange-ball impossible, Brett came back to his first love... ICE HOCKEY!
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2 Responses to Out of all of my writer friends I…

  1. Mauro Altamura says:

    great, Brett. You’re not alone in your fear, it just manifests differently in me and I bet others. I have fears about EVERYTHING! One thing, though, rather than deny your fear, maybe just know it’s there and you can write anyhow. You can write into the fear, about the fear, with the fear. You can write and be nervous through and through. To continue your sports analogy – sometimes when I am on my way to my bball game, I get fearful; sometimes I feel queasy, or worse. But I keep driving, and get on the court and start playing and miss a bunch of jumpers or hit a bunch and before I know it, I’m not thinking, just shooting and playing. And it’s fun. I don’t have any idea if that’s how writing could work. But I’ve spent lots of hours at my desk, looking out the window (as Amy stated) and thinking myself out of it. Then I put something down. And then I get up and go for water. Sooner or later I have a paragraph, which I am afraid to show a soul. But I have it -and then when it’s time to show someone (NLWG, mostly) I’m freaked. But I do it. So be afraid. It’s fine.
    I also wanted to thank NLWG for your comments on Friday about my in-progress novel. As I told you all I have so many apprehensions about it and have been wanting to chuck it. So… I really appreciate your thoughts and comments and the support. It’s given me lots to think about, and I feel excited (and dreading) to get back to it next week. I’m still searching for it, but events and plots and structure are happening, little by little. Thanks a ton!
    My week ahead will be to continue working on it – not sure if I’ll start where I left off or re-write sections. And I am getting to my high-water mark with Moby DIck, somewhere around Pg 125 is when I’ve stopped the last four time I’ve read it, never to finish. I’m enjoying it lot this time, and reading closer and more attentively than I had in the past.

  2. Mauro Altamura says:

    I just finished chapter XLI of Moby Dick., pg 156 in my copy. As I’ve written before, I’ve had this book since 1971 or72 and have tried to read it 4 or 5 times, never getting past pg 125 or so. This chapter is titled “Moby Dick” and it could as well be called “Ahab” as it outlines some of Ahab’s madness and obsession. It was exquisite. Beautiful writing that evokes what for me, felt like a theorem of the futility of existence. Melville’s words, (Ishmael’s narration) explained the eternal burn within Ahab, the hatred that was in “the race since Adam” (I paraphrase) but gave me the sense of how utterly helpless we may be against time.

    I had a thought that I should actually never finish the book, but keep reading it on and on, over and over for as long as my eyesight works. Though I am excited to break through my previous barrier, I had a certain sense of doom, of the finite-ness of life, that will be clear and present as I delve deeper into the book. It saddens me, in a sense, and points to the ultimate termination we face. Perhaps if I never finish the book I can forestall, at least, the feeling. Happy Memorial Day — kind of contradictory, I suppose.

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