Writing Retreat: Day 4

First thing this morning, Lauren read part of Jonathan Franzen’s introduction in this year’s Best American Essays anthology aloud to me. “This is something you need to hear,” she said as she sat on my bed. She read the last three paragraphs which included this gem of a line: “The writer has to be like the firefighter, whose job, while everyone else is fleeing the flames, is to run straight into them.” Franzen wrote about the risks nonfiction writers have to take, and sometimes these risks include embarrassing themselves or revealing something shameful. In many cases, these risks yield powerful essays and memoirs.

This was the motivation I needed this morning. I spent another full day writing, and I feel that I’m making headway on a chapter that has been particularly challenging. Is it good writing? Probably not, but that’s what revision’s for, right? I clocked in nearly 2000 words again today, so I built a fire and poured some wine.

I only have a few more days here at the Hemingway House, and I want to make them count. Tomorrow my mother’s driving down to take us to lunch, and then I’m heading up to GrubStreet for class. Speaking of GrubStreet, I applied to the Memoir Incubator at the last-minute (literally– I sent the application at 11:59PM). I had resolved not to apply because I’m still butt-hurt after not being accepted last year. I’m not sure what changed my mind, but at 11:40 I scrambled to complete the application. I’m not getting my hopes up, and honestly, the paying the tuition out-of-pocket isn’t feasible at the moment, so even if I was accepted, I’m not sure I’d be able to enroll. But we’ll see what happens.Maybe I’ll get a scholarship or win the lottery or something.

And I think I’m going to end this post here. No, wait, just kidding; I’ll leave you with these pictures taken today:


Four are from my phone, one was lifted from Lauren’s Instagram feed.

Look how fun we are.

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