On Feeding the Soul

I’m at a Starbucks waiting for it to become 6:30pm so I can meet the other members of the Writer’s Guild I just joined.   We’re going to meet at nearby restaurant for dinner, and then begin a process of exploring each others’ work.  Each of us had to print six copies consisting of 10-20 pages of our work.  The idea is that we’ll each have two weeks to read each others’ work, then meet again, and talk about it. 

The first meeting was “Write Only.”  It mostly amounted to a lot of talking about our projects, as well as about Writing in general.   This time, the focus will be on critique.   I must admit I’m a bit scared to bare my artistic soul to six total strangers, especially after I saw the way I reacted to the earlier critique of three years past.  Hopefully, I’m in a generally better place in life these days, as well as more distanced emotionally from some of the more difficult themes I hope to address in this piece.

I did read through the first four Scenes the other night.  It was as expected: that which was good was very, very good; and that which was bad was horrid.   I couldn’t help but notice, however, that the good parts seemed to be those where the most difficult themes were presented.   This was encouraging.  Then I received a fantastic stamp of approval from one of the five people to whom I sent the four Scenes.  Included in his compliment were these words:

I have been wanting to write a proper, more in-depth email about it, but let me say when I got to the bottom of the document, I was clicking wondering why it was not going down anymore.   Then I realized I had read it all!   I wanted more.  I was immediately hooked.  Captivated.   I had planned on reading it a little at a time, but read the whole thing in one sitting.  

mark-twainI now believe I know what Mark Twain meant when he said: “I can live for two weeks off of a compliment.”  After I read those words, I instantly ascended into a state of such artistic elation that my growling stomach was placated without receiving a single bite.   Three years ago, all I was getting was mockery and ridicule.  But upon hearing the words that every Writer loves to hear, it was at least three hours before things like eating or sleeping had any appeal.  Why should I bother with feeding my stomach or resting my mind?  Somebody somewhere had just fed my soul.

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