And I’m happy to be back.
And no. I didn’t become a potter. I’m still very much a writer and an artist of sorts.
But I promise that all will be explained.
About three months ago, I wrote a post saying I was going on a hiatus for “at least for three months, if not more.” I said that I would still be reading, and that I wanted to write more short stories, but the main part of why I wanted to go on hiatus was what I wrote here:
I feel bad telling you, dear readers, to write every day or do this and that and not do it myself. I don’t want to be the kind of writer, teacher, or person that talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. You don’t deserve it, and I don’t either.
So… it’s been three months. Here’s what I’ve learned in this time.
Doing What I Said
I’m Still Reading
I recently discovered my local library’s e-media collection and have been lending books and having them downloaded to my Kindle like a maniac. I’m currently reading The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2009 to reacquaint myself with the short story form, but also introduce myself to the kind of short fiction that I’ve wondered about but never written. So far, I’ve read some good stories, some meh stories, and one what-in-the-name-of-the-universe-is-this story. But I can see why these stories were compiled together: rich details and unique narrative voices, at the very least.
But this is just a collection by one person. What might be the best to them might not be the best for me, but it’s good to look at what others are looking at and publishing. It gives me something to aim for.
I’m Delving Deeper
I’m also delving deeper into my novel, ironing out the plot kinks as well as looking into conlang development for some sections. Reading The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson refreshed and illuminated some of the things I learned in an introductory linguistics class, but I imagine that The Language Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder will serve as more of a workbook and road map for creating a fictional language for my novel.
Not Doing What I Said
Still Haven’t Written Much Yet…
As for writing, I haven’t written much new stuff yet. No new short stories. No new chapters.
But you know what? That’s okay. My studies are just taking longer than anticipated.
And, yes. I’m not “walking the walk” or “talking the talk” like I said I would in my last post.
But that’s okay, too!
You know why?
Because I’m Not an Expert!
According to my copy of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, an “expert” is “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject.” For example, I am not an expert in pottery for the following reasons: I know hardly anything about it; I have no certification that says I am; and I don’t practice it.
I’m not an expert in writing either. I know a lot about it. I practice it. I blog about it. I was educated in it. But I haven’t mastered it. And even if I manage to get a Master of Fine Arts degree or publish a New York Times’ Bestseller, there would still be things about writing I don’t know about. Being a master is something subjective; other people declare other people “masters” of a subject. Self-declaring mastership when you’re not a master is fatal.
Which is what I discovered in the last three months away from this blog.
In the blogosphere, I thought that if you weren’t an expert, or didn’t sound like an expert, nobody would read your blog. Furthermore, the English language in general has what I like to call “expert disease.” When we read something, we trust the narrator automatically. And when that trust is broken–when they’re unreliable or make mistakes or do anything less than perfectly–we put the book or the article down. So I started talking about writing, and trying to make myself sound like an expert about it.
I got more readers, which helped, but my fiction writing didn’t seem to improve. And because of that, it’s no wonder I was feeling so miserable for letting you down by not doing what I said, dear readers! I had placed such a high standard on myself that not only did I think I was letting you down, but was also letting myself down constantly.
To put it bluntly, I messed up.
To all of you that followed this blog thinking I was a writing expert of some kind, I’m flattered.
To all of you who find what I’m saying nonsense–that you never thought I was an expert of any kind, but enjoyed my blog regardless–thank you for your ongoing support.
I just wanted to be sure that I cleared up any air that might have been here.
And now that it has been cleared, let’s keep blogging, shall we?
As friends, together, on this journey called “Life and Literature” 🙂 .