Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing Burnout

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

After the first of the year, I made 18 submissions to contests and publications. I found myself making it to second round judging in three contests from earlier submissions. However, two I lost. The third was to be announced January 31. On February 10, I was told they were working on it and to be patient. Today, on February 22 there is still no word of a winner.

During this same time I have had three incidents of positive encouragement. One was from a woman who had been a student when I substituted her class almost twenty years ago. She said she remembered a story I wrote and  read to them, that she had been so impressed she became a writer. Hum, I had no idea that I had wielded that power!

I saw a picture in the St. Louis paper of a nun holding an apple slice. It was Sister Mary Lapping, an Ursuline nun I had worked with on my side of the state fifteen years ago or more. I had wondered often what had happened to her. I did some Googling and found an address; I wrote her a letter. I got a nice email in return telling me about her recent move to live near the Kirkwood office. She said that in moving, she found a letter I had written telling her goodbye when she left Webb City, one she had kept.  She encouraged me to keep writing now.

I also got a note from poet Andrea Hollander Budy, a Writer in Residence this spring at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and poet with connections to Arkansas where she once lived and wrote. She had judged a Persimmon Tree contest where I had sent three poems. She sent me an email in spite of my losing because she wanted me to know how close my poem Nicodemus, Kansas had come to winning. Hum, sounds like I am getting close but doing a lot of missing! Among other things, Ms. Budy wrote:
Whether or not one’s poems win contests, the act of writing matters. As you know from your own experience, poems enrich the lives of those who write them as much as it does those who read them.

I am not sure, but I think I am getting the message to keep writing, to not let my fires burn out. I believe I will keep going for a while longer.


BECKY said...

Oh my gosh, Claudia!! Those are all such awesome things! You definitely need to keep writing, and still have those fires burning! You have already received more encouraging words, from really good people, than many of us do, ever! Write! :)

Bookie said...

Thanks, Becky! I have heard of some "writing theft" lately, and I have even faced a tad of it in years past. However, the people I have met on writing blogs and lists are some of the most giving and helpful people ever. In the end, that is how we all succeed at whatever we do, by helping others.

Saw the sun yesterday, but he disappeared again. Hope he visits longer next time!

irishoma said...

Hi Claudia,
How true, "the act of writing matters."
Hearing you almost made it so much better than not hearing at all.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful encouragement you've received recently.
Keep on keeping on.
The sun is out on this part of the state; I hope it stays for awhile.