I’ve long had a resistance to writing fiction. I’m not quite sure what it is, but perhaps it’s because it’s like art in many ways. I might see a horse in my head, but I can’t get myself to produce what I see. Similarly, I can’t get myself to create fiction that matches the movie I see in my head.
As a writing teacher, I carry a lot of guilt about this. I’ve been trying to write alongside of my students, to go through the process that they do. It helps me understand the magnitude of what I’d really asking them to do. Plus, I’m not going to lie. It gives me a bit of street cred when they see I can write too.
It’s so easy when we’re working on personal narrative or poetry. And I can pre-write fiction with the best of them. But when my kids launch full-on into their stories? They leave me in the dust, marveling at their fearlessness.
I’m determined to make this the year that I draw upon my students’ courage and challenge myself more fully as a writer. It’s time to get brave.
This summer, I’ve committed to improving my own writing through the exercises set forth in Ursula K. LeGuin’s Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story. * I’ll be posting my experiments in this blog, and I’ll hopefully use my learning with my students.
I welcome any feedback. And, if you’re up for writing along with me, send me a link to your work. I’d love to read it!
©Lainie Levin, 2019
*Thanks, storyteller extraordinaire Sue Black, for the original inspiration to take up this challenge.