Monday, November 15, 2010


Yeah, but who blogs at night? I pretty much never do, that's for sure. (It is 11:40 PM as I write this.)

Tomorrow is the closing on my apartment in NYC. It's taken a long time to get here, with many trials and tribulations, but life feels okay. I guess the best/worst part is that even this event, something I looked forward to so much for so long ("looked forward to so much" = "was at times desperate for") feels not like the culmination of an experience, but like the beginning of one. I can look for new, better jobs; find a new apartment to buy that I can actually afford; spend more time with people I like. Also -- and this is why this whole post exists right now -- I'll do more work on my projects. It sucks that I have no new stories or essays or novels right now and haven't since like February, but taking an extended break from writing has been necessary. I think now it won't be anymore.

All in all, I'm not too mad at myself for the break, only the right amount of mad that will get me to start writing again. If success really is measured by what you have done with the resources available to you, rather than the net amount of your achievements/money/fame (I like to think this is true), then do you know what? Slogging up Route 9 on foot carrying a camera, scan/copying old coursebooks with a Canon printer, endeavoring to define "skronk" in unique words, looking presentable in T-shirts from 1999 until more money comes in, gazing at the Lackawanna clock tower over the top of a pint glass... I am a success.

We had a lecture at JCAS today about autobiography in fiction and essays. Writers have it hard sometimes, because they feel their worth is wrapped up in their thoughts, their ability to translate those thoughts into something others didn't know before. I do believe the better a "translator" someone is, the better they are as a writer. But the worst thing for a writer isn't to be obtuse, it's to be dishonest. So, I will continue to say honest things here and everywhere else my voice ends up, even if it's the very least I can do, like now. And then, eventually, I will be able to do more.


juleesing1 said...

Amanda -- first of all, congratulations on selling your apartment -- which I saw on FB today.

Secondly, taking a break from something often helps us fill up with inspiration again, and gives us new material and energy when we start back.

Third, your classes have been really valuable and although they are not about you producing writing, they are still in the area and I think will provide more inspiration for you once you go back to writing your own stuff.

And finally, I really liked the story you brought in as an example of autobiographical writing. It was really interesting and it rang true, so I think you are able to be very truthful in your writing, just as you seem to be as a teacher.

I'm sure your writing will flourish once you move forward w/out the burden of having to sell an apartment, and after having taken a much needed break. I look forward to seeing some of your new work.

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for reaching out this way, Julee. This is so kind. For the past few months I have felt lucky to teach and share writing, and I think you're right -- the inspiration is already there! That's due in no small part to the wonderful insight and curiosity all of you guys bring to the discussions each week. I am really grateful.

Mark Reep said...

Hi Amanda. Couple thoughts, for whatever they're worth: Sometimes when I've taken a break from a kind of work for awhile, when I return to it I find I'm farther along & can do things I couldn't when I stopped. Not intended as a rationale for laziness :) but it does seem to happen this way sometimes. To the importance of saying a thing honestly: The older I get, the less anything else- language, form, etc- matters. When you're sending out work again, hope you'll consider Ramshackle Review :) All best.

sneha said...

hi mandy. this is a really beautiful post. thanks for sharing. love and hugs...