Saturday, November 30, 2013

Some good news for a change

The blog has been pretty bleak lately -- for good reason, sure -- but still. And as a writer friend told me it's good to give readers hope, give them a sense of why I'm still here, why I'm still breathing. Wise words indeed.

So at the risk of tooting my own horn, I'm going to share a comment from my last post. Said Mama Pea: "Holy moly, you are such a fantastic writer!! The sky's the limit regarding this talent of yours. Write like crazy during this period of your life. It will pass quickly, and looking back you'll realize you have heaps of fodder for an awesome book that will help others."

Well, guess what? That book is in the works. Right now.

University of King's College, Halifax, NS
 My marriage imploded in late April and a few weeks later I was accepted into the inaugural Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in creative nonfiction at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (At moments like this it's hard not to condescend into hacknied cliches about 'as one door closes, another one opens.' But I digress.)

It's a two-year low residency program, so I spend six weeks in intensive residencies (two weeks in Halifax last August, one in Toronto in January, another two weeks in Halifax next August and a week in new York in January 2015) and graduate with a degree, polished book proposal and a large chunk of manuscript.

I'd been thinking about getting a post-grad degree for a few years now. I looked into other writing programs, but none of them were quite right. I consume fiction -- novels, stories, poems --  but I wanted to write nonfiction. True life. That which is stranger than fiction. I've been a freelance writer for 12 years but I've plateaued, become static and stuck. I wanted to push the edges of my words.

I wanted to write a book. About food, farming, family. My delicious and messy life.

And I'm scared shitless. Writing doesn't come easy to me. I've heard people talk about their fingers or pens being guided by an unknown force, many call it their muse, and I've been blessed by that visit maybe a handful of times. When I reread work that I've written when I'm in that space and time, I'm touched by the visceral power of my own words and images. And the rest of the time -- well, I struggle to find the words to adequately capture the way I feel, the vastness of my experience in this crazy life. I've tried to quit writing before but I can't. And so, a book.

Writing this book demands that I dig deep, pull back the veil from my memory, wipe away the crud and the bullshit, the constructions and the myths, and just write true. Whatever that is. It means letting go of what's past and clearing the way for what's to come. It means cracking myself -- my heart, my mind -- wide open. But that's how the light gets in. It means writing about a failed dream, but also exploring the wonder and possibility of a new one.

So I'm doing it. Under the tutelage of smart and storied professors, a gifted and generous mentor and with the love and support of a cohort of new friends on their own writerly journey. One page at a time. 


8 comments:

Mama Pea said...

Wa-HOO! Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance! Do you sense this as being a period of monumental change in your life? (Well, duh, of course it is.) But what I mean is that it's easy to see you are on your way to something utterly, absolutely, totally fantastic . . . which you so deserve. Write on, girlie, write on!!

P.S. And don't you dare forget to keep us all up-to-speed on all that is transpiring in this wonderful opportunity you've made for yourself!

Tim D'Souza said...

Fi - I truly love to read what you write. Your words make me reflect and smile - visualize and think. I admire the effortless flow. Your thoughts move seaminglessly from one statement to another.

Your graduate program sounds like a perfect fit for you. I look forward to reading your book one day, my friend - as I know it will be published!

Amy L. said...

Fiona, that's awesome! Congratulations! I will happily read everything you publish!

Linda S. said...

Congratulations Fi! And I agree with Mama Pea - you are a fabulous writer! All the best to you, and if you want someone to review, I'm here :)

Fiona@RowangarthFarm said...

Thanks for taking the time to share such lovely encouragement. If only all my readers could be as charming as you! I've got lots to learn but I see the blog as my playground; a safe space to experiment with words and explore ideas. I just need to keep at it, and not disappear for six months at a time!!! (And yes, Mama Pea -- I *do* see this as the first step towards, well... something! And I *will* keep you posted. Thanks for hanging in...)

David said...

Fiona, I'm glad to see the you have such a great attitude about the future. Coming back to your passion in life will carry you into new and exciting life adventures. My best books to read are about people who have come through hardships and continued to follow their passion in life. You are indeed a writer. And if you have the time, bake some bread. It just seems to sooth the soul.

Have the best day that you can.

Tyche's Minder said...

I am so glad you are writing on your blog again. Yours was the first blog I ever encountered and almost certainly the reason I explored further, both blog life and farm life. Your writing inspires me. Thank you and good luck with your studies!

Buttons said...

Having just found your blog I am positive with the talented writing I read here you will have no problems selling a book. Go ahead and toot your own horn. Congratulations. B

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