I’m feeling a bit worn out at the end of this week. The end of the school year is relentlessly drawing closer and final assessments are about to be dished out. Partly my fatigue is due to undergoing a small barrage of health tests on Monday. They turned out to be a waste of time, unless I count the peace of mind upon discovering there is actually nothing wrong with me. In reality, getting inserted into a tube, (white, circular, open-ended coffin) and listening to short intervals of jack hammering was never going to be life threatening. The trauma evolved squarely between my ears as I fought half an hour of primitive fight or flight response telling me to get the hell out of there (I couldn’t, I was stuck in the tube.) One inconspicuous panic attack aside, I’m proud to say I kept my cool and was rewarded by a phone call later the same day telling me I’m perfectly healthy, as I suspected.
I want to liken this experience to the writing process I’m currently undergoing. Two days ago, I received my manuscript assessment back for the novel it feels like I’m perpetually writing. I've grown weary of it. However, there’s nothing like a professional outsider taking an impartial point of view and letting you know exactly what is right and wrong with the patient. It was reassuring to know my characters speak realistically and the plot is deemed interesting enough. On the flipside, I have a tendency to write overly busy sentences. I’m a full time working parent: busy is what I do best! Two spaces after a full stop is now old fashioned. Yeah, thanks for that Senior English, class of ’96. Now I have to undo the habit of a lifetime, not to mention delete about ten thousand spaces from three hundred odd pages. By the way comma, apparently you and I have an unhealthy, overly dependent relationship as well. It’s time to start seeing less of each other. At the very least, start showing up in the right place at the right time.
Personally, I enjoy receiving constructive criticism when it helps me hone my skills and if it eventually results in my beloved pile of pages turning into a polished and published novel. After all, I relentlessly dish the comments out to my students, and there is satisfaction in receiving the same type of feedback for my own work. I consider it first aid for my craft. The privilege of finding out my shortcomings set me back $500 bucks. However, others whittle their hard-earned cash on fashion, Friday cocktails, or in my husband’s case, ham radio equipment. Each to their own here! This particular professional-putdown has provided many insights and instilled new excitement. I’m looking forward to spending some more time in my imaginary world again. It’s time to catch up with the dear friends of my own invention, check how they’re going and ensure all is well so that one day, hopefully soon, I might be able to introduce them to the rest of you.