Wormwood, wormwood

I told a little fib in that last post.

I said that before the Texas Mountain Trail Writers retreat in early April, I have to write a 500-word story.

The truth is, I don’t have to. It’s optional.

Then why do I put myself through this torture?

I do it because retreat participants will get to read their stories around the fireplace. And then the stories will be collected and  included in the next issue of TMTW’s annual publication, Chaos West of the Pecos.

I refuse to be the fireplace  spoil-sport, and I’m sure as all get-out not going to miss an opportunity to see my words glued between the two covers of a publication.

And then there’s the other thing. It’s fun. It says so in the retreat literature: “This is fun, and optional.”

Despite having written myself into a hole I can’t crawl out of, writing “A Day in the Life of a Rancher’s Wife” is fun. It’s like creating a puzzle and solving it at the same time. I’m partial to puzzles.

But fun and writing seldom appear in the same sentence, at least sentences that come from writers. Red Smith said to write you have to “open a vein.” E. L. Doctorow said writing is “a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” Colette’s husband locked her in a room to make her write. He wouldn’t let her out until she’d produced something he could sell (under his name).

I don’t have it that bad. My husband doesn’t lock me in, I have most of my marbles or at least know which pile of paper they’re under, and I’m not anemic.

But because I’ve yowled around to family, friends, and acquaintances that writing is equal parts wormwood and woe, I have to stick to the story. Claiming the TMTW assigned a composition is a minor fudge, but it’s enough to convince them I’m suffering. They remember senior English.

Confession over, I’ll end this post and move on. There’s a hole I have to write myself out of.

9 thoughts on “Wormwood, wormwood

  1. So glad to hear you’re not locked in! Maybe viewing it this way will actually give you more motivation to keep at it. And, you’re right, saying something like this is optional just doesn’t cut it. Be there or be square!! (Am I dating myself?) 🙂


    1. I have the horrible feeling I might have more motivation if I were locked in. (Dating yourself? Mercy, no. It was only yesterday.) ~ Thanks for visiting.


  2. When I was little, I used to perform for my aunt’s beauty shop customers. My specialties included pretending to be Tweety and singing “I tawt I taw a puddy cat” and also pretending to be Sylvester who was looking for a way to “salve” his hunger problem. I was shameless, fearless, and also trolled for bubblegum, hugs from ladies with fox furs and long red nails and diamond rings, and of course–praise.
    It ruined me. Nothing since has given me that euphoric sense of personal perfection and total cuteness. I could do no wrong.
    It’s all been downhill from there.
    I keep wanting all the praises and pets and bubblegum for any creative efforts I undertake. Deserved or not.
    My unrealistic expectations of a world of indulgent beauty shop ladies causes me pain when my writing efforts get rejection. The agents/contest agents are supposed to say “Why aren’t you the cutest thing. Please, perform for us. We will shower you with praise and treats.”
    I must have gotten the idea at the tender age of five that the world was just a giant beauty shop where I could preen to my heart’s content.


    1. What you need is a good critique group to give you the bubblegum and praise you deserve until the agents come to their senses. The pets you might have to get somewhere else.

      Do you still sing for the public?


  3. I love it when people confess to fibs, especially in blog posts. It’s so REAL. Probably by now you are halfway into that story.The retreat sounds fantastic. I’ve only been in that area once and fell in love with it. It’s a world unto itself. Write your story and savor every moment. I look forward to reports of the retreat.


    1. I don’t fib intentionally, of course. It just takes me longer than most to face the truth. I’ll probably report on the retreat in excruciating detail. The prospect of writing in the mountains is exciting.

      Thanks for visiting.


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