"The only way to write a book, I’m fond of telling people, is to actually write a book. That’s how you write a book."
- Anne Enright, Q & A after a reading from The Gathering, Seattle Public Library, February 19, 2008
Since my last post, I feel like a writer. I love writing. I want to focus on writing. But since I began this blog, I’ve never failed to write a post about a sub day, so I’d feel incomplete if skipped one. I’ve decided this post will be half-teacher and half-writer. Feel free to read the part that interests you more. Or both.
Okay, this is all I’m going to say about the last couple of days subbing gym. I covered for the same absent teacher*, and even though she knew she’d be off for two days, called each absence one at a time. The first day was at the Montessori School. The little ones were happy to see me, so I got more hugs, “Watch me”, and hand holding.
The second day was at the rally** school from last week.
After I parked my car, two middle school girls saw me. One asked, “Are you subbing today?”
I said, “Yes, for gym.”
“Oh!” One girl complained. “I don’t have gym today.”
Her reaction made me feel good.
When I entered the office, the principal asked, “Who are you today?”
That question always makes me laugh because it’s like I’m not the real me when I sub. But it especially makes me laugh when I’m wearing sweatpants and a running jacket. Do I dress this way when I sub Math? Does the woman think I’ve given up on life?
After two kindergartens and one fourth-grade with the gym teacher/coach, I traveled to the Montessori School. After dealing with the three-year-olds for thirty-minutes, it was time for lunch. During lunch, a stomach bug slammed me. I decided to endure the last two classes, and then hurried home to suffer more comfortably.
While I didn’t take myself off the sub list today, I willed the phone not to ring. It was working too, until just before 8 am, when my husband was ushering the kids out the door to take the bus. It read the dreaded “Private Caller”. Technically, I can get calls until 9 am, but I’ve never had a call after 7:15 am. I decided not to take the call. Although I still feel guilty for not taking it, I don’t think I would’ve made it through the day.
My days “off” are supposed to be heavily devoted to writing, but I was supposed to have my critique group tonight. Of the six pieces submitted, two came via e-mail two days before the meeting and one came the day before the meeting. I think that’s unfair. Since Sunday night, all I’ve wanted to do is add muchness to Eve as soon as I realized that she should be muchier. (Read yesterdays post lest you think I’ve lost my mind). Burdening me with last-minute chapters to read delayed work on The Disappearances.
Soon I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to sit through tonight’s critique, so I let the host know.
Although I doubted that I could string two words together, I worked on my manuscript. And worked. I added dimension and growth to Eve and the story. It’s nearly THERE. It feels so good to be in the thick of something again. As soon as this is done, I’m fired up to write something new.
By noon, I couldn’t function so I slept for an hour. When I awoke and checked the laptop, I noticed that The Authoress posted April’s Secret Agent contest. This filled me with dread after the one commenter was mean during the March Secret Agent Contest.
Here’s my new entry, which you may have already seen:
So far, the comments have been positive. There was a request to change the second sentence (which I think KarenG had already suggested in a previous post***). Here’s what it looks like now:
Walmart was the first to disappear. The chain of destruction that began with one local Walmart was something I could never have made up - I’m not that good of a writer.
Like when anything extraordinary happens, it started off as an ordinary night. I sat with my knees folded on the rickety olive recliner, with Adam sprawled at the foot of it. We were supposed to be finishing a boring book by reading alternating chapters and sharing them.
It was also suggested that I delete a later sentence: “That wasn't the sky you'd normally get on a foggy night.” I agreed, and it’s gone.
Better? Worse? What do you think?
This feedback had me thinking about critique groups. Meeting only once a month with six other people – all whom write adult and one who writes fantasy, may not be the best way to spend my time. Although I’ve appreciated their comments, I may do better sticking with quicker feedback from someone who writes in my genre.
Whom do you rely on for feedback?
And speaking of genre, I’m having a difficult time deciding the category for The Disappearances. Any suggestions?
*Same teacher and subject, but different day:
** Rally post:
*** Karen’s advice along, with many other helpful comments:
**** About the mean commenter: