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Breaking a few eggs

Local eggs

Originally uploaded by freerangelibrarian
Last week I paid four dollars for a dozen eggs, and that was an insanely good bargain. They weren’t just any old eggs; they were fresh eggs from a local farm, and aside from being almost too unbearably pretty to crack open — they were pastel blue and green and yellow, some with tiny tan speckles — they had an egginess that was other-worldly, a full, buxom flavor that makes supermarket eggs taste like paper towels by comparison. We had eggs for dinner, scrambled with minced Vidalia onion greens and a little turkey sausage, and those golden fluffy eggs were better than many a pricey restaurant meal I’ve had in my life.

So Thursday I cracked a few eggs in that writing class. I got my money’s worth and then some. It was hard, necessary work.

I woke up Friday morning and almost wished I didn’t have a class that day, I was so eager to sharpen my knives and take them to essays that have the germs of ideas I’d like to forward but just aren’t working yet. At least two of these essays are going to be teardowns; they don’t work in their current form. Now I can see why.

(But Friday’s class was wonderful, a class by Dinty Moore — not the stew, but the famous writer/teacher– on characterization, filled not only with fabulously practical advice, but with laughter, encouragement, and much chocolate. Thursday was the day I worked on a weakness; yesterday I worked on a strength. I’m glad I did that in that order.)

(Oh, and if you want to know how Dinty got his name, read his book!)

Then last night I went out with other conference goers and had a long, wonderful evening — passable food, delightful company — and that helped too. We’re all struggling, word by sentence by paragraph, and they (and a couple of friends back at the ranch) reminded me that placing four (maybe five) essays in a year is really not bad at all.

The eternal message I have for myself is “I suck as a writer,” but — in addition to instruction that may help dial down the suckmeter — it helps to be reminded that this opinion is endemic to the profession and in its own loopy way, crucial to my success.

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