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Michelle's Musings

True Confessions, Part 2

As promised, here is the second of three installments of my "True Confessions" posts.


So, the novel is set aside for now, and I plan to resume writing a memoir—though you may ask, How can you tackle something of that length when you just shelved the novel because its length hampered progress with your other projects? The answer is that I'm writing the memoir in snippet format. That is, as ideas come to me, I write an essay-length piece and file it away. When I'm ready for the next "chapter," I sit down to produce another contribution, which may not necessarily connect in linear fashion with the last piece. While each chapter stands on its own, I do intend to pull a unifying thread through.


I will also continue drafting personal essays for submission to contests, newspapers, etc. In the meantime, I've learned of my 1st place win in the 2021 SouthWest Writers Contest for a humor piece I submitted! This win is incredibly gratifying; however, some of you who sense that I'm more of a serious-minded individual may wonder when I first entertained the concept of being a humorist. Indeed, I take any work I do seriously and give it my all. However, I must admit that I've posed this question to myself more than once. I must also confess that I'm not entirely certain of the answer.


I have a couple of theories about the development of my humor voice. For one, I've long been able to see the comedic side of ordinary life situations with which most of us identify and commiserate. As an ardent golfer, I often come across scenarios rife with fodder for humor prose—although I don't always see humor in a golf round and end up telling myself that I should never have gotten out of bed! I plan to create a collection of these anecdotes (some of which have already been published) in book form that would, hopefully, find a home at golf clubs or in retail golf shops.


The second theory I'll share is that as dark as my memoir will likely turn out to be, and as dark as the novel is, for that matter, humor may have become a form of respite for my writing brain to protect it from being mired in the abyss too long. Whatever the case, some time had passed before I understood that others appreciate my quick wit and one-liners as much as I enjoy producing them. Whether my humor represents some sort of coping skill or raw talent, or both, at least others find my work funny. I confess that appreciating my humor means a lot to me!


See you next month for installment number three of "True Confessions."

Dare to Share

This time of year must be writing contest season. I've received a ton of notices about submission opportunities in just about every genre from poetry to memoir, short story to creative non-fiction, novel excerpt to literary journal piece. The word count requirements are just as varied.


It feels good to be at a point in my writing where I'm confident enough to submit material for judging. Yet as I strive to meet deadlines, I realize that most, if not all, responses to my submissions will be rejections. But my efforts are not wasted, as there is always room for learning. As needed, I refer to notes from classes or conferences I've attended and review salient advice for the revision process. I proceed accordingly, sharpening my revision and editing skills with each pass. Some contests even inspire me to create new work. Social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic has also provided more opportunity for me to hone my skills with fewer distractions. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I look forward to a return of all those external sources of diversion!


Spring has arrived, however, and so has the season of showcasing one's talent. Not only am I proceeding full steam ahead with my craft, I also may have discovered a flair for photography. I seem to have an eye for photographic composition and plan to submit one or two images for competition.


As my vegetable and flower gardens flourish, birds awaken, and temperatures rise, so, too, does my creative energy. I hope yours is also roused and that you dare to share your work with others!