Anne lay in bed, iPad on her lap, ready to create a blog post about characterization. She’d been struggling this week with her blog’s format, with her plan—but not with her purpose. At this exact moment, however, she was struggling with aching muscles, nausea, exhaustion, and a migraine; not to mention blankets and pillows that refused to be comforting or supportive. Anne adjusted her duvet again and again with increasing aggression.
Once she was moderately comfortable, and had written the first paragraph of her post, she felt the best thing for her situation would be some water. But if she was going to go downstairs, she’d better bring the laundry. She ended up making two trips, having forgotten her water bottle after gathering the wash. While downstairs, Anne acquired codeine and ibuprofen, skipping muscle relaxants for now, and stared at the canned goods cabinet’s hinges for a long time, brainstorming solutions on how to get that door to stop falling off.
Back in bed, Anne wrote the second paragraph, then got distracted by a OneDrive notification: Look at this album of photos taken on April 8th of other years! She noticed her two youngest children had looked so much more baby-ish only two years ago. And there were so many photos of things she’d gotten rid of; photos she’d taken to ease the pain of separation. But there’s a book—Samuel Beckett—what? Anne couldn’t see the title in the photo, so she pulled up google and searched Samuel Beckett book covers. She wondered why she didn’t remember owning this book. Where did it even come from? Anne couldn’t find it on google. She wondered if it could have been a copy of Waiting for Godot. But she would have remembered having a copy of that, because of him.
After writing her third paragraph, Anne got caught up in the nostalgia she always felt when reminded of him. Waiting for Godot was one of the first things she remembered about him. When that other guy and Anne first moved in together, he leant her his copy of Waiting for Godot. He said it was very good. He said Godot was God. Eighteen years later, when she actually read it, Anne disagreed. She wished she’d read it back then and had long, long talks with him about it. She wished they’d argued about it. She wished she’d said, yes, Godot has the white beard and in Lucky’s monologue he says that, right off the bat, but Godot isn’t God. Godot is death. Beckett said to stop reading into everything, so Anne stopped writing her dissertation on the subtle symbolism in the play, which included jumps to conclusions such as they can’t hang themselves from that tree, because it’s the tree of life. Even if Beckett himself would not have approved, Anne regretted that they had never talked about it, never shouted their theories at each other with passion.
Anne then edits the paragraphs she’s written, knowing they’ve brought her no closer to having a post (which she needs in less than an hour). She’s rambled on for ages, and has she even touched on the theme of characterization?
Despite this not being very good characterization, I think you can infer a handful of things about me from the verbosity above. For example, I’m easily distracted, compulsively minimalist, and still in love with my- actually, let’s not make that clearer than it needs to be.
Like I said, I’m struggling. I’m not feeling confident that the format of the Weekly Prompts is achieving the vision I had in mind when I began. That vision being,
- I improve my writing.
- Others are motivated to join in.
- Community forms around the idea of motivated improvement.
My writing is getting better. I feel confident saying so, though it may not be reflected in every piece. But I feel I’ve failed to create the environment I intended; where people want to share their writing with me, where we can watch each other grow.
I think part of the problem is the prompts are for longer pieces of work, so they require an investment of time. For some this is not a problem, but long term I think it discourages even the most willing. Therefore, without betraying the ideal behind my work, I’m going to change the format.
From now on, I will suggest a theme for the month, something for us to focus on in our work. Each week I’ll post something I’ve written with the theme in mind, and give some details about what I think I did well, or failed to do well. If at some point during the month you want to share something you’ve written with me, as always I would be honoured to read it. Click here to use the contact form.
The focus for April is: characterization