Tatterdemalion

29 04 2010

It’s the Canwest Canspell word of the day, and it’s one I’ve never heard before, but I like it.  It means “being in a decayed state or condition: dilapidated.

I can identify. I’m still recovering from a wild and wonderful weekend at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop (EBWW to we in the know).  Spending time in a room full of 300 funny people is exhausting. Even the lineups for the bathrooms were hilarious. Add to that the two day drive down and back, which I spent singing loudly to myself in the car – I was alone and my new wheels have a USB hookup that allowed me to bring my entire music collection with me.  The songs were playing alphabetically and you just can’t imagine how many tunes there are with “crazy” in the title.  The mix is funky, too – merging from old Muddy Waters tunes to the Fratellis to Heart to Gnarls Barkley to Diana Krall.  Even some Mavericks in there someplace. Of course there was no one else in the car – no one else could have born it, especially with my “please sing loudly in rehearsals but just mouth the words in performances” voice. Honestly.  My 8th grade choir director told me that. Apparently I can get on tune but the sound is unpleasant. Even my little infant son placed his tiny hand over my mouth when I sang to him.

Truly sad for a girl who grew up on tales of Jenny Lind and wished for nothing more than a voice of angels….

Maybe it was the hours of laughter, singing, or learning, or maybe it was the excellent scotch my new best friends Sheila and Tim shared with me (Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or), but I’m feeling pretty darned tatterdemalioned.

I did all the right things.  Why, merely days after my return I tried to friend as many of the co-attendees as I could. I read their blogs, I laughed at their jokes, I organized my receipts, I told a few folks about the experience. I’m still processing the truly helpful seminars by Chuck Sambuchino and Jerry Zezima, Nettie Hartsock and Sophronia Scott, Terry Whalin and Mark Levine. I ordered the books I couldn’t buy at the workshop.  I made plans. But I am sooo tired!

I even updated my LinkedIn profile….and joined a few appropriate groups. It all seems like a lot of flurry with not much writing to show for it.

I decided I should crack open one of my “How to write” books – I’ve bought a few of these and they sit on my bookshelf, ignored, while I devour novels and short stories and poetry and wander through the outside, touching the newgreen leaves and the tiny flowerlets of spring, so much farther behind than that of Dayton. Then I saw Nettie’s excellent post of a New Yorker article on the futility of writing books, about how they are written to sell to the desperate (guilty!), and decided to wallow in Denise Mina’s excellent mystery instead.

I just can’t buy the writing book’s recipe format for success. For me, writing is like a roller coaster ride – I know where it begins and ends up, and some of the swoops in the middle, but if I saw the whole route, it just wouldn’t be any fun. So thanks, Nettie, for giving me permission to ignore my stacks of unopened books!

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