“You have to love the writing process,” people say, and that is true. But what has always made me chafe against that statement is the implication that the process should be enough. Having readers, being published—those goals should be secondary, or perhaps not goals at all.
I do want readers. I do want to share what I write with the world. Just as songwriters want their songs to be heard. And painters want their paintings to be seen. And fashion designers want their clothes to be worn. And designers of canoes and skis and chairs want to see people paddling and skiing and sitting. It’s the sharing of what you made with other humans—which is both terrifying, at first, but also wonderful—that completes the terror and wonder of the actual process of creating.
However. Sometimes what you thought was ready to be shared turns out not to be. And that, I have come to believe, is the case with my second memoir, After Ecstasy. It’s a book about faith and doubt, and after more than two years of rejections, I have lost faith in its readiness.
Thank God it occurred to me, finally, to ask for some human help. You can read the whole story here, on the page I’m now calling In Progress.
Meanwhile, life has been rich and poignant in equal measure. We are all moved by, but terrified for, the people of Ukraine. Many of us continue to suffer the consequences of the pandemic: Covid and Covid-adjacent losses; emotional, educational and economic setbacks. It was very helpful to me, this winter, to focus on an article about cultivating compassion for 3rd Act Magazine. It has also been meaningful to teach (virtually) at Seattle Central College and Hugo House. And Spring Quarter is starting next week!
Ah, Spring. Or, as Robert Frost put it:
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
I look forward to reading your reflections on faith, writing, and life in whatever form it’s published, Ann. Thanks for the update!
Essays it is. You’re in good company with Ann Patchett and Margaret Renkl.
Looking forward to hearing more about the project/process.