Monday morning I trotted back to the café, settled myself down and typed for 8 hours, went home, printed the draft and couldn't look at it. I felt as raw as a piece of flesh churned through a meat grinder. What had I been thinking? I'd taken a fictitious story set in a place I'd never really been with imagined characters and infused the narrator with emotions that belonged solely in the depth of my soul. The same emotions I'd suffered with and worked through in the darkest part of my life - what was I thinking? How could this possibly turn out any good? I couldn't bear to read it. What if, instead of writing a piece that was pure genius (as I had a good idea in my head of what I wanted and how it could be accomplished) it was instead a pile of pitiful trash?
My intent had been to look it over and make changes the next day... two days later it still sat, face down on the ironing board in the kitchen while I contemplated the Word of the Day, Threshold. I began thinking about all the thresholds I'd past through in the past few months. Every little discovery I'd made and every goal I'd achieved; the ability to integrate setting into plot and emotion, practice setting up and delivering scenes and the ability evoking an emotional response in the reader. I realized I constantly look ahead and challenge myself with new ideas opening doorways of possibility that expand my thinking and the directions my writing can move. And although I always know where I want to go with my writing and what I want to achieve sometimes the way requires experimenting with a roughly drawn blue print based on past experiences and glimpses around corners. It's to be expected then that things may not to turn out precisely as planned on the first run.
And so the use of "threshold" in my writing this past week was not something in a story, nor did it wind up as a writing exercise. Instead, it was a reflection on my experience, the relationship I have with my writing and the realization that despite this new threshold I've just crossed there will always be more doorways to traverse and things to learn as I push my writing ability forward, stretching the limits of my word use, composition and broadening the expanse of my end desires.
Photos taken of Dredge No.4 in Dawson City, Yukon. Summer 2008.