Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Black and White Print

I turned something into the NYT Modern Love contest yesterday. I turned it in at exactly 11:58 p.m. eastern time. The deadline was 11:59 p.m. And unfortunately, my chances aren't lookin' too hot. True, I only found out about the contest two days before the deadline, but I've cranked out personal essays with less time before, ones that I ended up loving. And this was supposed to be an essay on modern love, for crying out loud! I had a whole blog devoted to the topic! I should've been trotting all over that damn park.

I don't even know if I can call it a funk? Because I've had those -- where it's just a really ugly road block, one that's only there to make you take the longest possible detour, to your convenience, of course. But at least you got there. I wrote two completely different essays, settled on a third, and hated all of them. I would read them out loud to Norman (reading out loud is essential for me), and I wouldn't even finish before I said, "Is this boring? This is boring, isn't it? Ohmygod, it's boring and you know me."

I would write them, and yes, there would be moments of pretty prose, but at the end of it, I would just stop and say out loud, "What am I doing?" I had no idea what I was trying to say. What am I trying to say? What's the point? The "so what"?

It's something that's been really bothering me lately. My professor said writers should always have a point of view. It's best to know what you're trying to say before, but you should definitely be somewhere at the end of it. But what if I don't have anything to say at all? What if I'm a creamless cannoli?

I don't expect anything. (That's a lie: I expect the NYT editors to scratch their scalps with their valuable fingers. That's a lie, too. I want this. I want(ed) this badly because for the first time I felt like I really had a shot at it. Maybe I wanted it too much. Is that wrong? To want it too much? April is going to be a long month.) I did it for the sake of the opportunity because that's what I've learned I have to do, and if I'm better because of it, that's all I can ask for. (Okay, yes, another lie. I'm in a fragile state, and I just need some validation that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.) Now, does anyone have any Funk-B-Gone?

(photos via pinterestvi.sualize.usa glamorous little side project)

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