Again I have missed Fess Up Friday. This is entirely due to being drunk on and physically unable to put down either of the two Sue Miller books I borrowed from the library. A long while ago I read The Good Mother because it is one of my mother's favorite books and, a few years ago I read Family Pictures. My interest in Sue Miller was rekindled when I applied to the writer's conference as she is going to be there. So, on Wednesday, I picked up a few of her books at the library. Friday I began reading The Distinguished Guest. Yesterday I finished hungrily devouring it and began reading Lost in the Forest and, just a few moments ago as the clock struck midnight, I finished it. I would have finished sooner if not for love of my husband above all. It seems that in my literary drunkenness the dirty laundry, mail, and other household responsibilities piled up. This afternoon he told me he would like some help and intermittently I, somewhat begrudgingly I must admit, put down the book and answered his pleas. We went to bed at 10:20 and at 10:40 I found myself laying in bed wide awake unable to sleep having not finished the book. Suddenly I found myself shimmying out from under the arm my husband had protectively placed across me and creeping into the living room where my book waited. So elicit!
There is something about Sue Miller's work. The way it flows nearly seamlessly. The way she manages to let each of her characters have their say without making the transitions feel bumpy or abrupt. The way she writes sex so honestly and unflinchingly. The humanity she brings to all of her characters in all of their dealings, pleasant, unpleasant, or anywhere in between. Reading her work inspires me to keep working on mine, to keep seeking perfection in my own writing.
Inspiration to keep moving forward in my own work is something I really need these days. I received an email last week informing me that I had not been selected for the Lesley University Writers Conference, but encouraging me to "continue pursuing (my) passion." After much self-doubt and some mild disappointment, I have come to the conclusion that this is a good thing, this being rejected. It is part of being a writer. You work, you submit your work, you frequently get rejected, but you keep working, keep striving, keep writing for the love of it. Maybe you aren't really a writer until you submit and get rejected. In any case, this was a milestone. I will keep writing in order to get better at it, improve my craft, and apply again next year.
I have also been exploring other conferences coming up this summer and beyond and found The Green Mountain Writers Conference in Vermont, the Patchwork Farm Writing and Yoga Retreat in the Berkshires, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, the Sanibel Island Writers Conference (Florida in November sounds delightful), the A Room of her Own Foundation Retreat, Robert Vaughn's Write on the Beach... There is just so much out there to explore and apply for! It is encouraging.
As far as fessing up about my writing this week, aside from blog entries and to-do lists and one thank you note, I have been stalled. As result, I allowed myself to indulge in literary drunkenness, but it has brought me inspiration and tomorrow is another day.