Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nite of Submission

The Park Road Writers were back in the incubator last night – my Park Road rowhouse where it all began three-plus years ago – the amalgamation of a few Writer’s Center, film, and meditation geeks looking to write their way to enlightenment. Our common desires were for accountability to someone other than ourselves and our laptops – maybe even some sense of community to assuage the writers’ blues. So last night we gathered for lentil soup, bottles of vino (for what is a writer’s group without our truth serum?), and goal-setting for the new year and new decade.

We have one writer who’s just started a low-res program at Vermont and is reveling in it – the insights and creativity and, most of all, the after-hours metaphor-laden discourse over beers at a pub by the campus. Another member has just applied to upwards of ten high-res programs, a brave exercise that spawned a few new stories, and will undoubtedly cultivate in her the art of rejection – though we have high hopes she’s accepted to her number one. Another member had a story published in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' magazine last year; and another has her book 'Ginger and Ganesha' coming out this June. Such talent.

And yet another member (me) has just applied to the Peace Corps! So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I had two essays to prepare as part of my application process, one on my motives for joining; another on my experiences building trust in cross-cultural environments. But my real answer is that writing is everywhere. Not just in MFA programs. With the daily writing routine I’ve cultivated, I picture myself on the ground, in Mozambique (or wherever I am posted) working on community projects by day, speaking Portuguese with the locals, tilling the soil for stories, and by night, in my mud hut by the sea, writing on my battery-fueled netbook. Que romantico! And perphaps rediculo - but it's good to imagine.

Let’s hope all these PRW aspirations are realized in twenty-ten. And yet another one we all shared, now that we are writing, is overcoming Resistance and Fear of Rejection by completing and submitting our stuff in the new year. And in the spirit of support, we agreed to a special Nite of Submission each quarter or semi-annually, where we come prepared to the meeting with a cover letter and the first compelling page of our submitted story to read aloud to the group – as we down glasses of Big House Red, of course, and toast to the god of prosperity or creativity or perhaps the god of just-get-it-out-the-door.

Here’s to submission in 2010!