“There are a handful of unfinished stories. And in my head none of them are really dead. Only sleeping.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

I drew a thing. It is a thing with Worries. Don't worry, little Thing! I will ease your mind.
Sirens 2011! Day 2, and a Rare Bonus Drawing By Me
Sat 2011-10-08 00:30:41 (in context)

Hello, the blog! I have a picture for you, which I drew. And I'll have you know that I don't do much drawing, 'cause it's harrrrrrrrd, so go ahead and feel special about it. I do!

This drawing is my monster. It's my dear little fearing monster from the Imposter Syndrome family. Isn't it adorable? It's a picture of its future self, after it has successfully moved out of its family home and into a safer place where it can learn to take better care of itself and me.

That may have been a little obscure. The logic goes like this: The Imposter Syndrome family is made up of a bunch of monsters, all of whom say, each one in its own special way, "It's only a matter of time before you find out you're not really a writer. And that will suck rocks." This particular member of that family tries to protect me from that inevitable discovery by preventing me from writing at all. In this picture, the fuzzbucket is handling its fears in a much more constructive way: in order to reassure itself and me that I really am a writer, it is urging me to pick up that pen and write.

Also it's a Legend of Zelda joke, because that's funny. (You probably didn't need to be told that.)

I did the sketch during the 5:00 PM write-in today. Because it was a write-in, our fearless leader gave us writing prompts and time to work with them or on our preexisting projects. But she also gave us monster pencils and big sheets of monster paper in case we wanted to contribute a monster drawing to the big red notebook. The theory is, conference participants fill up the notebook with monster drawings, the notebook gets auctioned off, and someone goes home with THE most awesome souvenir of Sirens 2011 or indeed of any conference ever.

I'm sure the original intention was to collect drawings of the fantasy monsters that are the theme of Sirens 2011. I'm pretty sure no one was thinking in terms of this sort of internal monster. But I've had this in my head to create since Wednesday's long walk, Zelda quote and all, and so there you go. The original went into the notebook, and the photo came home with me.

So. Speaking of writing and not writing: Remember that bit yesterday about "I want to go home and write forever, starting tomorrow"? Add another tomorrow. I am exhausted all over again and then some. This conference is wearing me out. In all the right ways, yes, with my brain all tingly from ideas I hadn't ideated before, but wearing me out nonetheless.

Today our keynote speaker was Laini Taylor, and she too had that "I want to write forever" effect on me. She gave a speech that was all about stories: the narrative expectations of life books had given her as a teenager; the desire to escape into a book and live in a book but not really live in a book (because who really wants to have to try to keep a pet dragon fed? Especially in this economy?); and the opportunity cost of every choice, in story writing as in life, which is to make impossible every other choice you could have made. "If I choose to become a mermaid... there goes my tap-dancing career!"

But the bulk of her speech was to make these points by telling a story. She wrote a story specially for this keynote speech, and she told it to us, stopping now and again at cliffhanger points to further make these points with related stories, some of which were fictional and some of which were biographical or autobiographical. And though a lot of characters showed up on the main page, I'd say the main character of her story was Story. "This," her story was saying (in that meta way that stories do say things), "is what it's like to write stories."

I know I, for one, when faced with the common writerly woe of a headstrong story insisting upon some element or direction that I didn't plan on adding and am not happy about being forced to add, will forever-from-now imagine -- in addition to the things I have already imagined -- a horde of extra cooks all salting the soup with unwanted monkeys.

So that was awesome. And somehow I am going to need to hold onto this sense of "you are awesome and writing is awesome and I want to write forever because you make it look easy and fun and like a total adventure!!!" that I'm getting by listening to the guests of honor talk about writing, because I'm not going to get to act on it until probably next week.

And although I am having a great time here in the Vail Valley and I don't especially want to leave, I'm very much looking forward to next week's daily writing. It will be a blast.