Friday, March 16, 2007

A post in Thank Yous

Hee, my Oscar speech!

Thanks to Laini, who gave me a new title for the very first draft of any piece (instead of ‘shitty first draft’ which was giving my Muse an inferiority complex). Henceforth, it shall be known as the Exploratory First Draft (yes, those ARE trumpet blares in the distance).

Thanks to Megg and Michelle, who brought The Red Book to my attention. My spiritual life has been sick, y’all. It’s been a quiet ache, worrisome, like a tooth beginning to rot away. I’ve always been a religious person; it was one of the most important things in my life. I used to say that being Catholic was more important to me than being Latina, being a woman, being a PERSON.

Until it wasn’t, anymore. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, ranging from the increasingly fundamentalist, hardline Christianity my sister Punkish had grown to favor, to the fact that the priest who married TEG and I chose to focus on marriage as “pain and suffering” because he disapproved of our interfaith marriage. But, for whatever reason, the lack is real and the void is cold.

I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to find the wellspring of my religious feeling again, but nothing really helped. But something in the voice in this book, the exuberance, the experimental curiosity and joy, spoke to me. And it lit a small pilot light of tentative exploration—and it caused me to acknowledge that part of my hesitation was that my spirituality seemed to be leading me in unexpected, unsanctioned directions—towards Hinduism and Buddhism. My family already thinks that I have “lost myself” within my genuine adoration of all things Indian; what would they say to that? And yes, I am ashamed to admit that I’ve been guarded with my own intuition, because of fear of what my parents would think. Why can’t I finally just grow up and separate a little? Probably a topic for another post.

Thank you to the Minneapolis Public Library, for giving me the access to The Red Book, and all of the (many, many) other books I’ve checked out. I always feel like I’m gorging in chocolate and pleasure when I am there.

Thank you to my Muse, for helping me stay (relatively) calm even while struggling with a main character’s voice which had suddenly, mysteriously, gone flat and dead like a dropped call. Eventually, I’ve gone back to her genesis and found the core that turns her into a three dimensional person, instead of a collection of unrelated personality tics.

Thank you to the Wonder Pets!, for distracting Madam while I stand at the counter, hurriedly scribbling out my dreams and morning pages. Teamwork, indeed.

Thank you to TEG (who had a birthday this week—another post I was blocked on. Hmmm)—for putting the computer down and saying “I want to talk to YOU. What’s going on?” Talking has always been the magnetic connection between us, and I think always will be. The man gives good conversation.

And thank you to all of YOU, who post your struggles and triumphs, scribbles and poems and self-portraits, and who help make my blank page a little less, well, blank.



Blogger Leah said...

i love the red book (i'm reading it also.) i bought it when just looking around on amazon and i'm so glad i did. kelly at kikipotomus (she's in the fw group) just wrote a post about the book too.

again, i'm excited for all the exciting changes happening in your life!!

3:54 PM, March 16, 2007  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Yay! Such an uplifting post, struggles and all. So glad "exploratory draft" helps you too. Much as I adore Anne Lamott, "shitty first draft" just doesn't do it for me either. The idea, yes. The term, no. Sounds like you're doing really well. I'm so curious about your main character -- I bet she's fantastic. Can't wait to read your book some day!

12:39 AM, March 17, 2007  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

I'm sure you'll sort it all out, Mardou.
Your own visual dna sounded dreamy & divine.
I don't think your religious introspection is gone. It's still there inside you.
Just go with the flow of your spirit.
And do enjoy your writing. :-)

12:43 AM, March 17, 2007  
Anonymous Frida said...

And thank you! For sharing with honesty, intelligence and insight your wonderful, messy, rich, very real and very recognisable life.

I have 'The Red Book" on the list of things to buy next time I leave this country (in a little over a month I'm going to Londond - bring on the bookshops!). I was already sold on it by Meg and with this endorsement from you I know I need to read the book.

The superficial differences in our lives only increase, for me, the sense of wonder at the depth of what we have in common.

I'm intrigued by the way you describe your return to the source of your character, and the re-emergence of her voice. I'm still thinking about Geeek myths and wondering what treasures there are instore for us, your readers.


5:50 AM, March 17, 2007  
Blogger deirdre said...

I like the idea of Exploratory First Draft too - it opens the door a little wider, lets me think there might be more story than I first thought.

The struggle with faith and beliefs is one I know so well. It just goes on and on.... It seems that knowing what you believe would make like somehow more simple, more manageable - I don't know, it escapes me.

I love this post. There's so much here that makes me happy for you.

9:41 AM, March 17, 2007  
Blogger deirdre said...

Oops, typo. Life, would make life more simple.

9:42 AM, March 17, 2007  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

separation from parents... (sigh) I have one who could care less about having me in his life...and one who wants to know every minute detail of my existence. I seem to have become artfully adept at dodging landmines on both sides (most of the time) but simply leading a life (HERE) away from either of them. That's simply my way of saying that sometimes we reach a point where parental approval wanes on the list of priorities compared to the rewards we'll reap by exploring that which calls to us. Hugs to you--glad to hear things are looking up.

8:32 AM, March 28, 2007  

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