Tuesday, March 10, 2009

queen of the rodeo

Sitting in writing class, we are handed our evening’s exercise to write dialogue. My mind goes blank. I close my eyes and lay my head on the desk while others around me begin to frantically scribble on their notebooks or type away on computer keyboards. Seconds pass, perhaps even minutes. The only dialogue is the one running through my head that begins to question my creativity and my motives. What are you doing in this class? I think about the question and soon themes begin to run through my head: Mother. Jonathon. Spiritual Journey. Authentic voice. They weave and interconnect with each other and morph into an amazing story.

Am I mad? Crazy? Self-absorbed to even consider writing this stuff? What if people read it and hate it? What if they don’t read it at all? Would that be worse?

Wait! my inner voice slows down the stampede of negative thoughts. Who are you writing for? What do you want? What do you need from this?

I need to tell the story – even if I don’t know what “the story” is. It’s writing itself by pouring out in splashes and spills – dribbling out through a sentence or two – a word of dialogue here or there.

Just keep writing, the muse says.

The bold inner critic pipes up: Who the heck do you think you are? No one wants to read your words. Heck, you can’t even string a reasonable sentence together.

Other voices chime in while the dust and chaos of the stampede builds. You gotta get it right. Be sure to cross all your t’s and dot your i’s. Punctuation counts. Be sure it’s all true. You don’t want to make anything up do you? People might find out you’re a fraud and a liar just like James Frey.

“But, but, but”, the stuttering child says. “I’m a good writer. Mrs. Craig said so.”

Yea, but that was in the fourth grade. You’re 52 years old now, more than ½ way toward the grave. Give it up, old girl.

It feels like the whole negative committee of my mind has circled up and threatens to push me over the precipice into the gulch of unfulfilled dreams. Give up. Give up. Give up. Give up.

I put my hands over my ears, squeeze my eyes tightly shut and begin to breathe deeply until a new voice enters the midst. “Thank you all for coming,” a calm woman sitting tall in the saddle appears, “but we won’t be needing your input today.”

I like this woman. She’s like Lucy all grown up. She is strong and kind. Her voice is like velvet and her words drift over the raucous committee like a gentle mist covering the valley of a fairy tale. The naysayers begin to lay down one by one. Sarcasm gives one last ditch effort before tumbling out of my mind, So you think you can do this thing, huh? Yea, right, she says weakly.

And then the velvet-voiced woman is joined by another and another and another as they all chime in with cheering and encouraging voices.

“Just keep writing! You are the Queen of this rodeo!!!”

collage by Kathy Otero - a gift from my husband

8 comments:

Tess said...

"Thank you all for coming, we won't be needing your input today."
Fabulous! Such a lovely polite caring way to say 'get lost'!
And you're definitely a rodeo queen to me.

Abbey of the Arts said...

This inner dialogue is so well-written and I love that the Queen of the Rodeo came and lassoed everyone up and put them back in the barn, leaving you to run through the pasture, totally free.

Sue said...

Yee-haaa baby!

I love this, Lucy. I loves it. Those voices are so viciously godawfully spiteful and pen-stopping. It takes a long time to learn you are queen of the rodeo. This inspires me to keep moving forwards, despite what those voices say. The velvet voice is not as strident, but love compels where vicious godawfulness does not :)

Eveline Maedel said...

yup - you and me could've written the identical posts this week, couldn't we? Think I could hire your Queen to come lasso up Cordelia?

lucy said...

tess--yes, the velvet-voiced woman is certainly much kinder than some of those other ones rambling around in my brain..yeehaw!!

c--you're a mighty purty writer yourself, little lady!

sue--the key to being queen of the rodeo is to not get lassoed by yourself!

eveline--just holler over the fence any old day and the queen would be happy to lasso up miss cordelia!!


thank you all for showing up!!!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Lucy - Queen of the Rodeo is definitely riding a white horse and wearing a white hat, although I do favor a lot of my favorite role models in basic black - I digress, great post, so clearly depicting those negative voices that love to camp out until the next project, or sentence, or thought comes along. Keep listening to the Queen!

xoxo

hmmbrd said...

Thank you for so beautifully and honestly inviting us into this moment. I will remember this writing about writing as not just about writing (follow that?) I will go into my day in hopes that the compassionate voice within me will calmly and strongly brush away the ugly nasty ones.
I think God within says YEE HAWWW!

lucy said...

SS--white hat or black hat...she still sits tall in the saddle!

hmmbrd--i love that you see this more as a writing about writing. i sure do! always happy to see you here. yee hawww!!!!