I joined a writer’s group today. The university sponsors a variety of groups including “write a journal article in 12 weeks”. This title inspired me a couple of weeks ago and on a whim I wrote to ask if there was still room in the workshop. I assumed it wouldn’t be for someone like me. This workshop would be for people who were committed to writing, who were already publishing lots and just happened to want to join a group to help themselves along. I’m a staff person; I didn’t belong in a journal-article-writing group!
The lovely coordinator wrote back, proposed a wide variety of schedules and eventually got me and another woman to the session today. The coordinator’s enthusiasm, knowledge and positive encouragement combined with the other woman’s subtle sense of humour, intelligence and warmth, drew me in completely. In congenial company dedicated to writing and professional development, my tongue went berserk. Talk, talkity talk. Mississippi, Siberia, singles, Association for Baha’i Studies, 1-year-old daughter, writing, academic career, PhD, Buryats, singles, ABS, can I write? should I write? I have to write! Writety write. Don’t know how to write. Want to write. How to search journals? Live yes family yes work yes yes write write.
I’m surprised people can put up with me! Some of it is the joy of talking about myself and my interests. Yes. Pure ego. However, the fact that it bursts out so vociferously indicates that I’m not engaging that part of myself very much in the rest of my life. My work challenges me but it’s not the personally focused and passion-driven work of an academic. Something about writing and working on a long-term personal project draws out a level of personal engagement with the work that I don’t find in my project-based job.
Tonight when I got home I had a phone call from a woman I’d never met. We had been connected by the local La Leche League leader as she was experiencing similar breastfeeding difficulties to my experience. I was able to listen to her story, share mine and offer advice and encouragement. It was great. And it reminded me of my behaviour when I get to a LLL meeting: talk, talk talk. Advice, ideas, opinions, do this! Try that? this worked for me! And so on. Similar to the writer’s group, when I’m in a supportive environment with shared values I explode.
Possibly with more possibilities to express myself some of this over-talking will fade. And as I get into the real work of writing, my enthusiasm may slow down. Or not. We shall see.
Recent decluttering: ironing board, 2 pillow cases, one bottom sheet (rough and disgusting), 1 (soon to be 2) travel mugs, 1 (soon to be 2) bras. Headway is being made. One item a day (minimum) is showing me where to make inroads in our modest but still too-much stuffness.