Thursday, October 09, 2008
Tough Times For Teetotalers
Not so long ago, I often enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly if I down more than one I’m likely to wake up at three or four a.m. and never go back to sleep. Bummer. Every time I have a physical complaint of any kind lately, the “experts,” -- i.e. doctor, dentist, ophthalmologist, hairdresser, palm reader, you-name-it -- smile,nod and utter an age-related comment that makes me want to spew my Geritol up their nostrils. (I hate to admit it, but I have a nagging suspicion the wine situation might have something to do with that “issue,” too.)
This couldn’t have happened at a worse moment. With the stock market below 9000, now is not a good time to be a teetotaler. I think the only way to get through this crisis is to drink heavily...stay bombed out of our minds...get so smashed that we find it freaking hilarious that our hard-earned retirement money and our kids’ college fund just paid for a bunch of crooked AIG big-wigs to get hot-stone massages at a fancy, over-priced hotel spa. I’ve decided it’s a waste of time to worry about my financial future. Past experience tells me that no matter how wisely and responsibly I save, in the long run it’s out of my hands. Instead I’m going to worry about finding a non-insomnia-inducing alcoholic beverage. Send me your suggestions. I’m looking forward to trying them all out, and I’m not quitting until I either find one, or my liver gives out.
I’m late posting about last week’s “Do Something New” challenge. Last week, I taught a creative writing class for the first time. (If any of my students are reading this, don’t despair. I’ve taught plenty of creative writing workshops, just never an actual ongoing course in a college setting.) I’ve already posted about the first class metting. I really enjoyed the night and look forward to the rest of the course. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. It’s interesting that I’m still drawn to the profession. Teaching others makes me think critically about the way I create -- what works for me and what doesn’t. And through interacting with students or workshop participants, I always learn something new, too.
This week, instead of meeting for class, we went to hear Pultizer Prize winning journalist Rick Bragg speak. I thought he was fantastic. He had a question/answer session after his “speech.” A guy in the audience asked a really great question--if Mr. Bragg thought creativity is somehow linked to poverty and/or very difficult or trying times, especially in childhood. Mr. Bragg said he thought there is a definite connection. I believe there might be something to that, too. (Not that I think a person MUST have suffered either of these afflictions in order to be creative, but I tend to believe that more creative types have than haven't.) Rick Bragg said that as a child, creativity helped him to temporarily escape poverty through his imagination. He also talked about the lie of the muse. That it doesn't come and go, sprinkling fairy dust on you at sporadic times so that you can finally write. The muse is always with you, he said. If you want to write, then write. Don’t use the muse as an excuse to be lazy, an explanation for not doing the work.
He also stressed that reading books will make you a better writer. I know this to be true. Sorry to those of you who missed his presentation. Rick Bragg is an extremely down-to-earth, funny, talented, southern guy.
In a couple of days, I’m going to interview my friend and talented writer Leanna Ellis about her new book LOOKIN’ BACK TEXAS. (Available in bookstores now!) It's a great read. Stay tuned!
Have a wonderful rest of the week!
www.jenniferarcher.net (My Fiction Website)
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