I am my own guinea pig. I figure what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, in other words, I learn things about myself all the time and wonder whether others feel the same way I do.
My latest discovery is in connection with the writing of poetry. I was in the middle of a final polish of my third novel in the Florida Springs Trilogy, Clear Spring, and I was feeling so down, I had to stop every thirty minutes to eat a teaspoon full of pecan pieces. Besides being nervous, a condition I attributed to stage fright because I was drawing near the end of my book, I also had a bad case of self-chastisement, a plethora of thoughts about how I wasn’t any good as a writer, nor as a person. I know I’m the only person in the world who ever has these thoughts, and that bothers me too. What is wrong with me?
Then I saw a Face Book call for entries for poems about forgiveness from a Christian point of view. I was onto that like ducks on a June bug. First I started through my poetry workshop file, hmm, nothing specific on forgiveness, I usually write about more tangible things. So well, the thing to do is to start a new poem about the topic. I got so caught up in that I found the morning passing without a single bad thought or pecan piece. I wrote and rewrote. I asked my husband to read the poem to me. It was perfect except for one word. I wrote and rewrote again, this time shortening each line by two syllables. That required some word changes too. It got better. By the time I finished I was feeling mighty fine. No stage fright, no collywobbles, no cat-o-nine tails across my own shoulders. I felt ready to tackle anything, even polishing.
A similar thing happened once when my mother and I were waiting at a fish camp for our men to come home from a boat-shopping trip. It got later and later, but I didn’t have time to worry because I was working on a poem, “Bridgett’s Mustang.” You can see that poem in Bill’s, Old Things R New, “Slice of LIfe archives,” Our Trip Across America Part 9.
I need to go now, I am still working on forgiveness, and I hope to send it off within the next hour or so, then back to Clear Spring for some more polishing—stage fright free.