Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Emotions and a long nap
I went to my writing coach's today and read a piece about my family entitled, "Dream Family". As I said in an earlier post, it has been a while since I worked with this particular writing. I have tried very hard the past few days to make it a piece that could be published, that I could share with my family that it had been published, and that I could feel had still remained true to my thoughts and observations.
Once Fred Chappell was asked after reading some poems from a body of work he called "Family Reunion" when it would be published. He said, "A whole lotta people gotta die before I can do that!" When the book came out I reminded him of his comment and gave him my condolences! It was funny, but I think anyone who writes with integrity about his or her family knows the fine line one walks between telling the truth and making it palatable to those involved.
I think I've been operating on adrenaline while dealing with the revisions, and I definitely felt that I was offering up my soft underbelly when I shared it with the coach. After it was over, I was exhausted. I went to a meeting where one of the people said, "Are you okay? You look tired." And suddenly I knew I needed to go home and take a nap.
Now I'm not a nap person. At all. (A digression: I have a theory that people who eat breakfast, nap; those who don't eat breakfast, don't. Further proving my theory is the fact that since I started eating breakfast, I feel sleepy after lunch. Feel free to weigh in on this.) My tendency is to go until I drop into bed. If I sleep in the afternoon, I want to stay in bed until the next morning. When I wake up from the short sleep, I'm disoriented, groggy, and very unproductive for the rest of the day. But today I slept for two long hours, and finally, at 5:30 rallied to attend a birthday celebration.
Getting into emotions in our writing is hard. To do it well, you have to basically experience it yourself. For the past week I've gotten into the deepest emotions of every member of my birth family: my mom, dad, three sisters, and brother. Tonight, I feel tired of feeling. Tired from my nap. Ready for the comfort of my bed.