Thursday, August 20, 2009

writing life

On the Root Glacier!

I returned Tuesday night from a week-long writing workshop in McCarthy where my only contact with the world outside the Wrangell Mountains was the phone call I made to Jon from a pay phone outside the bar. Disconnected from Anchorage, I felt more connected with the world of that valley, my thoughts and the community of writers there. After an eight hour drive, I was back to my world of hot showers, store-bought bread and the internet.

Kennecott Mine

Back online, I scrolled through a the stack of emails to find a note from Deb Vanasse at the 49 Writers site. Though none of my entries was chosen as a finalist in the Ode to Dead Salmon contest, one entry stood out to anthologist Michael Engelhard. Michael is taking submissions for Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska, which will be published by the University of Alaska Press.

I'd marked the deadline for submissions on my calendar but hadn't thought of what I might write. When I wrote the piece that he liked, I was just having fun, playing around with words, stereotypes and a familiar expression about the Alaskan dating scene. I hadn't seriously considered it would have a life beyond the website, but now it will. It will be published in the anthology. Wow! How about that?

When I couldn't build with words, I could build with rocks...
until the river rose and wiped it away.

Opportunity comes in so many places, but some of it we must seek out. Playing with words and ideas will expand where we can go with our writing. I see that I need to give myself the freedom to write in different forms than I normally do, allow myself the fun of adding details I think are silly or over the top, and give myself permission to let my words run wild with metaphors before I tame them into beautiful, thoughtful prose or poems.

Late summer by the Root Glacier.

Where I go with my writing is up to me. Nobody else. That idea is both exciting and scary. Oh, to be alive!

1 comment:

corinne said...

Rose ~ congratulations on having someone notice your work and ask to include it in their anthology! your comments about writing beyond what you normally do reminded me of a book on my shelf that you might like: Wild Mind, Living the Writer's Life, by Natalie Goldberg. I remember doing some of the exercises and being led to write about things I'd never consider otherwise. I don't know if they were any good, but it did push me outside the typical topics.