Monday, January 18, 2010

Third Monday in January

Maybe it’s because I’m starting the 60s and the Civil Rights Movement unit with my kids this week, but I find myself thinking a lot about MLK, Jr. lately.

This flawed hero, with his insecurities, missteps, and fear finds the strength and ability to step up and transcend those things to shoulder the burden of a movement; something he believes in, something bigger than himself.

In spite of criticism from some of those in his own movement and resistance from outside.

Words are his tools and his weapon, and I don’t think they’ve been wielded more eloquently or more movingly than in his I Have a Dream speech.

We all have dreams and we all have words. Both have an inherent value. We all have fears and insecurities. I may not change the world, but I hope that as a writer and a teacher and a person I can transcend and use mine to create something honest and moving.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. We celebrate heroes and leaders for a reason.

So what about your hopes and dreams?


  1. Certainly nothing as eloquent or important as Dr. King's.

    I hope that my kids turn out ok, that they can find jobs where they are both fairly compensated and can find fulfillment, that the world's resources haven't been depleted by the time they're wanting to and ready to start families, if that's their wish. That they'll use their abilities to make life better for others.

    What does this have to do with my writing? Interestingly enough, absolutely nothing. Hmmm....

  2. I think it has a lot to do with your writing.

    You dream, you work hard, you do your best, you learn, you hope that things will turn out better or right for yourself and for others.

    I think that's the part of our readers that we touch with our words; that very human condition.

    Or maybe I simply haven't had enough coffee yet.

  3. our human condition must include our faults; our fallibility--- our ignorance, impatience, frustrations, prejudice--- and on and on so that my limited vocabulary cannot encompass it.

    and I've had two mugs of coffee this morning.

    we try to tell ourselves to be patient, to be open to the call of our ethereal Muses--- sometimes we're smart and we listen. sometimes we're small, spoiled children and we want everything NOW, our way, no compromise for what consumes or distracts others.

    I know I've been recently.

    I've tried to put all of that into my work--- to feed my Muse with it. But all I'm getting back is meaningless drivel--- nothing that reflects the rollercoaster of misunderstanding and incomprehension that I've been obsessing on for the past four weeks.

    I have written a story, but the story refuses to end because I'm looking for closure on it, but I can't seem to satisfy a certain need in me.

    It occurs to me now while typing this that my Muse is done and satisfied, but I'm not.


    Because I'm fallible? Because I have faults? Because I crave something more?

    Is that something my Muse must supply, or is it something outside of me?

    ttfn, susan

  4. Oh, fine, drop by here and ask the big questions. :)

    Seriously, I’m glad you did. Because I think that you’re very right about what other things our human condition includes; the things we are not so very proud of.

    And all of it comes out in our writing.

    I know that you feel that all you’ve got to show for your investment at this point is meaningless drivel, but I think that’s wrong. Even if it’s not what you wanted, or what you envisioned, it’s a starting point which you can go from and revise until you get to that magic place that satisfies you.

    That’s human and it comes from inside you, and I’m pretty sure the Muse will get with your program sooner rather than later.

  5. "But all I'm getting back is meaningless drivel--- nothing that reflects the rollercoaster of misunderstanding and incomprehension that I've been obsessing on for the past four weeks."

    Ha, I know that feeling. It's like you open your mouth to speak and all that comes out is "uh" or "um" or gydkslshg (in other words, gibberish).

    I'm of a couple of minds about this. I think that when I try to get it right, intellectually, it's wrong. When I just let it out, it's usually really scary, and usually has traces of what I want. In other words, it's like the Force. You can't think it, you almost have to feel it.

    I don't know if that makes any sense at all. But I've only had one venti Chai today ;-)

  6. idjolmnreinjfliujreoujfdlwejfilhoi.


    I'm at that point right now with the sequel I started in NaNo.

    On the rewrite, 5k in it's slow and dragging and in serious need of being pitched. I don't think it's gonna make it, Force or no Force.

    And you made great sense. Though I looked at Chai and saw Chianti. :)

  7. I wish I had some Chianti!

    I've been expounding myself with my drivel lately, and all I can say is, at least it's mine. I wrote it and I might not be proud of it, but I own it and no one can take that away from me but me. How many other people do you know who can do what we do -- write. (I don't know that many people where I am and those that I do know, couldn't write a functioning paragraph let alone a story.)

    So if my muse wants me to suffer in doo-doo for awhile before she comes off the beach and gives me some great ideas, that's fine. I'll take whatever she's got. As long as she doesn't give them to someone else.

  8. I'm with you about the Chianti. :)

    And yay!you! for being the cheerleader, the voice of realistic optimism because you are right.

  9. Optimism has always been my perfume of choice ;) so I guess this is the key: knowing that whatever is inside us will find the way – and the means – to come out and express itself. Sooner or later.

    And even if it doesn't, we will have tried – giving form to our dreams.

    "Hopes and dreams" it all boils down to that, doesn't it?

  10. I'm partial to Eau de Chianti myself. :)

    But seriously, you're right. What we have inside us will struggle to express itself, and will succeed to whatever degree we allow.

    And in the end, I think that's a very good thing.

  11. Yes, as Eva said in one of her posts, "out of inner conflict good fiction can rise".

    This does not mean that we must constantly wallow in anguish and self-doubt (the existentialist way of life never held any attraction for me :D or maybe I'm just shallow) but more simply it means that the creative process looks a little like giving birth – there is pain, yes, but the results are worth it.

    And again I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from a beloved character (yes, I'm a quote-spewing fountain, feel free to shoot me out of your misery…) that could be applied to the creative process as well.
    The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.

  12. Eva is my hero. It’s why I pay her the big beta bucks.

    I have never thought you shallow. But I do know that I sometimes tend to wallow in the self-doubt. I know you can’t believe that, but it’s true. :)

    The birthing comparison is a fair one I think. And as for your quote, I think transition is what I handle least well in the process of change. It’s the one most fraught with confusion and fear. Stepping through the unknown is always painful.

  13. Stepping through the unknown is always painful

    But once we manage to complete the journey, every accomplishment is worth the pain. And I always enjoy the wonders you share with us. :)