music / publishing / shift / teaching / writing

Mere Days to Spring Break

And in truth, I’m hanging on by a thread. It’s always a little nuts around this time (end of third quarter, grading and getting work done), but it’s more so this year for me. I’m stage manager for the Spring production of Evita. Yes. A high school production of Evita, and believe it or not, it’s going to be amazing. I’m in awe of the students’ abilities and dedication. But such an undertaking means a lot of rehearsal time after school. I’m dead on my feet most school days.

The weather is not helping. I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but it’s a mix of snow, rain, ice and tantalizing moments that spring is on its way and then that’s quickly decimated by below freezing temperatures. I like winter as a rule, much more than summer, but that is based on growing up in the South where winter isn’t quite so, well, wintery. I’m ready for a change in environment.

Some new stuff, my curriculum will probably change next year. It’s not official (another month or so and I think it will be), but I’m excited about the change and feeling positive that it’s a good move for all involved. More on that when it is official.

I also joined a writer’s group/guild/association thing this past weekend. The nice people at In Print had invited me to be a part of their Barnes and Noble local authors event last October. They asked me to join them for a kick off for their new branch: Teens In Print (TIP) this past Saturday. I’d been toying with the idea of joining since I met them last fall (all very nice and awesome people) because 1. I’d never been a part of a writer’s group (of any kind) 2. I could make new friends (still adjusting to this area). and 3. I could use the encouragement.

I do have writing buddies, but not one is local. And even with email, skype, texting, online chat, and the many other ways we keep in touch these days, it cannot replace the energy you get from sitting with a friend and bouncing ideas off each other. In England, I had a friend where we would just head to a pub, grab a drink and sit for HOURS (I mean, a good 2 to 4 hours at a time), talking story (and life). We both wrote very different genres and types of story (she was world-building and I was relationships), but our conversations were full of ideas and process. I miss those.

My writing BFF in Philadelphia and I usually stay in, curled up on her couch with mugs of tea. We tucked our legs and face each other and just talk. We pull out outlines, notes, and our computers as we traverse the characters’ and their lives. I appreciate her ability to create conflict and suspense and for some reason, she thinks I do well with simplicity of words and action (or something like that). We complement each other at the same time of loving some of the same things about creating a story.

I have another friend who is just a reader, not a writer, but reads everything I send to her and responds with critique (both positive and negative). She hails north of Boston. With four kids keeping her there, I don’t get to see her much, but over the phone we can discuss about motivations and characters arcs. She even wrote out a character sketch for me on one of my own characters, which helped me see what someone who didn’t create her (the character) saw.

It’s hard to find people to talk writing story with. Because it’s in depth and often cyclical. You have to be able to trust them not to steal your ideas and write their own version (I can’t even imagine). You have to be open to take their ideas and criticisms of your own work, while still sticking to your guns if necessary. It really has to be a pretty solid relationship. And those take time and effort.

Which is in scant supply in my life these days.

So, we’ll see if joining these other authors helps me reignite my work. It’s been more than stagnant lately (like think ‘dead’) and a few ‘meh’ reviews wreaks havoc on my own confidence (which is much stronger than it used to be). I’m hoping I have time over Spring Break to do some much needed work on the Phase sequel. Because I want that story told, too.

Really, I have a lot of stories I want to tell.

SOTM: So Much in Love – The Tymes

© ecnewman, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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