I have a mentor now, who gives me guidance, who has achieved as an editor, who tells me when I do good work and shows me how to do better work, believing as she does that I can do even better work than I all ready do. I got the opportunity to express to her how much that means to me, when she told me how impressed the is with me. She is someone I fiercely respect. That quality of praise will buoy me for ages. It has to. Lately I've been in a disproportionate number of situations where I found myself wondering, does this person hear how he's speaking to me? with absolute consistency regarding that pronoun.
My first assigned piece of journalism debuted last week. The moment I got the interviewee on the phone, I realized I had no means of recording on equipment that didn't belong to me, and I not-so-slyly typed his answers as he dictated them. I used to, for the most part, write whole interviews or features as I spoke to others, which has its advantages. I transcribed an interview this week that was half me explaining how to use tumblr, with bits of real interview buried deep inside.
My series of Q&As with the MakeSpace artists at Harrisburg Magazine now includes Michael Fisher and Leah Yancoskie, who share a studio and together created an imaginary family whose portraits occupy distressed chair-backs converted into baroque frames. The photographer whose work is featured in all the individual Q&As is Danielle Lucas - her work annihilates me, and she was recently profiled at MODE. Yesterday, my interview with MakeSpace resident writer John Destalo was cross-posted to both Harrisburg Magazine and Lehigh Valley Magazine.
Fiction-wise, I have been focused on getting rejected by larger venues and sabotaging solicitations. I have a lot more written than I have circulating among editors and no explanation for that except extreme fatigue. I am an editor, I know what goes into the process, and I am plenty sassy, and even though I take seriously the editing of my own work and routinely wake up to facets of stories and passages that I've hung onto or accommodated for the wrong reasons, still, writing is something I do because I love it and it makes me feel good. Usually, when it comes to feeling good, I'm not operating on a negative balance. It happens that right now, I am, and I am to such an extent I've been very cautious about how I bring that to the attention of others. Most of the week, I work in a borrowed office and write. Otherwise I am being mentored as referenced in the first paragraph. These are healing measures. Being able to take criticism in the service of my work is an aspect of my work ethic that I'm proud of - I like to be objective because I like to do good work. Sometimes - not every time at all, and this has not been my experience across the board recently, only in some very pronounced cases - criticism is delivered with unnecessary, extreme, hostility that is not objective, therefore inhibiting my ability to deal with it objectively and collapsing the skillfully erected ability of mine, of most artists, to be objective about something that comes from such an internal place. This does not make receiving normal, objective criticism easier, either, which makes me feel ridiculous. What is really difficult is managing the reactions and communications with others when I need the work to help me be objective about things that have happened to me lately, so I can get back to a more organized, effective view of things.
Communicating with others is not my strong suit lately. I asked a couple for an interview, and I recorded them for over an hour before they realized what was going on. Also, I am on Sylvia Plath biography number two of three. I wrote about the 2013 throng of Plath biographies at WITF (and, for a few days, had it on the front page of the site, which, again, spirits buoyed). The effects are tangible.