Friday, July 13, 2007

Needing a Change

Not sure what kind of change, but I feel that this most recent VONA experience has left me (once again), a different person. I feel a much stronger pull to my writing now, now that I've been validated as a writer by two accomplished, published writers whom I respect and admire, the fierce, funny and multi-genre diva Jessica Hagedorn, and the equally fierce, brilliant and generous Chris Abani.

I've heard this from other writers before, that there were writers that came before them that they felt gave them 'permission' to write. Natalie Goldberg writes about this, I forget in which book. For me, this 'permission' came in the form of both Chris and Jessica telling me (and the other students in our workshops) that we are writers, and in them treating both of us as adults, giving us lots of good criticism and not as much praise, which is what I feel like I really needed to believe that I have the writing ability and talent to make a go of it in a more concerted, systematic way.

I'm actually writing this right now from a Holiday Inn room in Louisville, Kentucky, where I'm attending a conference for work. While the people here are quite open and welcoming and the content of the conference is interesting, after being at VONA the last couple weeks it just pales in comparison to that vibrant, provocative community of writers and artists.

I've been scanning the 'Conferences and Residences' section of Poets and Writers, and even had a talk with H. the other night about how, since he's working more steadily now at his job at Tumi's, maybe I can start making a plan, in the next couple years, to work less and write more. It's a scary thought to me, and one I need to mull over carefully. Obviously, I also need to talk to my job about this, but they also know I'm a writer and that this is important to me.

I just need more time to write. Even here, alone in my hotel room, I feel a peace and an openness to the act of writing that I haven't felt since my time at VONA. I can understand now why some people just really need to go away to write. I just need the time.

So I took some time tonite to work on a short story I started a while back, involving a bit of time travel and political commentary. Thinking of submitting it to an anthology of Philippine speculative fiction that Dean Alfar is editing. Wish me luck!


Anonymous said...

Hey Rona Grrrlfriend!

Good to see that you’re wading deeper and deeper into the water. Mwa-ha-ha! Thanks for the tip about the Rome HBO series. Rented those suckers this weekend and now Belvin, my dad, and I are hooked like stoners to herb. Thanks for flagging the two centurions, Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus. Especially given our bias towards the grunt class. And for me my on-going struggle against writing sanitized PC hack copy.

Because each character has such distinct personality traits, compulsions, ethics and flaws, they bounce against each other good and hard, revealing more about themselves through their relationship and conflicts. It’s amazing to see how men who do such bad, bad things, (they’re soldiers/professional killers defending a tyrant after all) can be such sympathetic characters for viewers. We found ourselves yelling at the TV. “Oh man, don’t do it—you’re going to fuck yourself up!” “Hey Dude, that’s going to come back on you.” “Don’t be so naïve, the MFs will have your balls!” In other words bull’s-eye hit!—for the writers and actors.

Guess we’ve got to learn as writers working with a single brain to produce different characters how to capture the distinctive persona/drive that skilled actors bring to strong writing.

So Rona, I’m thinking about Tala’s Behzyl and Korthys lovers’ personalities/ compulsions/ competition bouncing hard against each other. And Tala and her cuz Q. And Sarah’s mom Sunny and Zhu’s mom. And maybe even Sarah and Zhu. All in good time.

Keep reading & writing & wading in deeper,

Rona Fernandez said...

Thanks Miriam. I'm so glad you liked Rome! When Season 2 comes out on DVD (soon) we should get together and watch a few episodes. It really is a great show. I need to re-watch some of it too (I already did rewatch a few episodes) as part of my 'homework' from Chris. I"m reading "Giovanni's Room" right now. It's good.