Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thank you

Through my various writing endeavors, I was blessed with meeting many a fellow artist, as well as reviewers and readers. Some offered words of encouragement, some offered support in various forms; others, in good spirit, offered words of criticism. As a writer, and hopefully as a human being as well, I’m constantly evolving, and therefore, I’m grateful for both the kind and the not so kind words, for it makes me think. Think about my own work, think about the motives behind my writing, and think about where and how I can improve. And believe me, there is always room for improvement.
    One person in particular, whom I met through a mutual acquaintance, has enriched me in countless ways. Whether we discussed a certain writer, a book, or our own texts, I could always rely on her honesty and literary taste when it came to recommendations, and on her unbiased opinions when it came to my own material. Over a period of about two years, we’ve shared many a heated moment dissecting our own texts, which is something I will always remember.
    When I struggled with revisions to the Mad Days of Me, she offered her help, both as a reader and as an 'unofficial' editor. One chapter at a time, I would sent her the finished chapters, only to receive them back some days later with her suggestions and recommendations. This relationship, albeit very informal, has helped me to get back on track with writing. Perhaps, her words of encouragement helped me overcome the disgust I initially felt when revising; perhaps, the persistence with which she attacks her own writing has inspired me.
    In any case, having this ‘second set of eyes’ readily available has made me want to sit down and write, to tackle the revisions one at a time, and to desire, once again, to complete the project. This false sense of security has helped me see clearer. 
    Then came a time when she has dumped me. (and I deserved it) Not in the literary sense, for she remains someone I consider a friend, but she no longer wanted to look at my ‘chapters in progress’. At first, I was extremely disappointed. Not because she didn't want to look at my work as it happens, but because I have gotten so used to having here there, that now I’ll miss it. Which brings me back to ‘this false sense of security’: My mind, my creative mind that is, is cluttered. When I write, I do not think about rules, about clarity, about a message. I vomit my ideas on paper. Then, when I re-read what I wrote, I nip and I cut, I move and I add, until it is what I perceived it to be in the first place. Sounds messy? Well, when we worked together, I could rely, as I have said already, on her unbiased opinions to point out where I had screwed up. I did not have to question my own words for extended periods of time. Now, that I no longer have this luxury, I question everything.
    One of the most difficult things for me, as a writer, is to read my own work. Usually, I put it off until the end of a piece, or end of a book. This means, that sometimes I do not read what I had written for months. During the time when she graciously helped me, I had the benefit of not only the needed ‘second set of eyes’, but also of seeing my work more frequently and with fresh, critical eyes. 
    So what is the purpose of all this? I guess this is my way of thinking things out and in a way, saying ‘Thank You’ for all she has done to help me get back to that hot seat in front of a blank page. I never took you for granted, and I never wanted to make you feel that you were being taken advantage of. 

Thank you for being a good friend and an inspiration.

And while we ventured in separate directions, I will always remember.

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