Monday, August 04, 2008

Musings Among Valley Vineyards

Wishing and Writing
By Kelly Pollard

I just finished Noelle Oxenhandler's new memoir "The Wishing Year: A House, A Man, My Soul-A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire". An award winning writer that has graced the pages of O Magazine, The New Yorker and Vogue, Oxenhandler wrestles with her skeptical demons by daring to dream big for herself. In a general sense, yes, she got everything she wished for and more than she could have imagined. I closed the book last night with a hopeful warmth coarsing through my blood. And I fell asleep with various wishes spinning in my head.

Much care and thought must go into the art of wishing. This past June, I thought my wish was to be accepted into the acclaimed Squaw Community of Writers Fiction Workshop. For weeks, I worked with my critique group to polish the first 5,000 words of my YA manuscript Blush. I visualized myself driving up to the gorgeous Sierras with copies of my writing in tow, to meet with such literary heroes as Anne Lamott and Amy Tan. I dared to dream. My writing partner Julie dared to dream the same thing.

And by the acts of fate, the opinions of the judges who open those heavy doors into their top-notch, creative world, I discovered I had been waitlisted. Not an outright rejection, though I couldn't help suspecting that they assured every applicant denied entry that they too were on the waitlist. A few days later, my writing friend Julie found out she was in.

I'm proud and excited for her and just read her first blog post about life at the beginning of the week-long conference, free of children and family and household obligations. Oh, what a luxury to spend a focused week on the art of spinning stories. In some ways, I admit the envy makes my green eyes several shades greener. But, I also applied to Squaw without a plan on how to pay the chunk of money required to attend. I applied with a manuscript I am done workshopping. I had plans to bring my newer manuscript to workshop, which had no way of being polished enough to present to such high-caliber writers and workshop leaders. So in all, the wish was misdirected. Perhaps my real wish was for that vast landscape of escape to a place where I could focus on my art without answering to daily life. Perhaps I haven't gone deep enough within myself to discover what I truly wish in order to throw the intention out there.

And no matter my feeling of envy that swarm to my surface when I share in Julie's enthusiasm in joining this group of amazing creators, I will still follow along with her journey while tapping my own keyboard and creating something worthy of wishing for.

Kelly Pollard is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work appears frequently in Bay Area Parent and she is hoping to sell her first young adult novel, BLUSH, very very soon.

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