“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” -Margaret Atwood
“Don’t get it right, just get it written.” -James Thurber
This semester is great because I finally get to do what I’ve wanted all the time: longform writing. This semester is horrible because I can’t seem to write a thing. Here I am in Creative Nonfiction and Advanced Writing and I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say. It’s all fine and good to write for myself, but it’s hard to write something specific that has universal appeal.
I’m supposed to be working on a fun, easy assignment. Our professor took us to the Devil’s Icebox cave in Rock Bridge State Park. We were each assigned a sense and told to observe as much as we could about it. I loved it. I knew it was coming and it was one of the reasons I signed up for this class. I got a really easy sense: sight. Lots of people think visually, so it’s not hard to connect with visual writing. I took a few pages of notes at the cave and enjoyed taking it all in. Now the assignment. Simple: one page that uses our assigned sense to describe the cave. So easy.
But there are some really talented writers in my class. I know theirs will be better than mine. I know mine will babble on with too much description and will never get to a point. I’m afraid I’ll accidentally slip in a cliche. So here I am, writing about writing rather than actually doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I need to get this done so I can go drink champagne. My roommate got accepted to Vanderbilt and Harvard for grad school today. We need to celebrate.
It distracts me from the cave though. It makes me think about my own future plans. She knows what she’s doing and she knows it’s going to be awesome. I keep having dreams about getting chased, hunted, stalked. I’ve even been turning into animals: I was a frog being hunted by an eagle and a duck being hunted by people. I’m obviously helpless, lost and terrified. How lame is that. It used to seem like graduating college would be a triumph. Now it will feel like a failure if I don’t succeed at doing something with it. But I need to stop thinking about that for a while. I need to transport myself back to a cave where icicles hang from the ceiling and silvery minerals sparkle in my headlamp’s beam. Time to write.