For years, I’ve worked on my writing. I’ve read crazy amounts of even crazier writers. I’ve gone from comic stripes to graphic novels, from definitions of concrete poetry to Mary Ellen Solt, from modernists to Marjorie Perloff. I’ve also gone from concerning myself what a handful of people would think about my writing to not really giving two ducks because somewhere in the world someone will dig what I have to say and how I say it.
I worked and worked. I studied and hunched over special collections. I followed bread crumbs of author names and book titles and saw events in my life like I was living out some novel. And I did it all with watchful eyes over my shoulder.
But now, no one really is watching.
While I still have MFA friends and good relationships with professors, some of whom share writing back and forth or who are willing to go over my latest manuscript with me, I don’t have the constant “pressure” to walk within acceptable ranges (quotations because they never pressure and always find something beautiful in us weirdos).
It’s like getting ready for the World Series. You spend 95% of your time training for your night on the mound. You exercise in ways that translate to your nine innings, but not all of what you practice is exactly what you will be doing after the first pitch. You up your cardio, you get deep in your plyometrics, and you lift weights. You hone your craft. THEN, once you’re hardened up and ready to go, you stand up at sixty feet and react to the scene as it comes to you. You stay loose, responsive and you do what you know how to do best.
You dish it out with everything you’ve got.