My anatomy is a bit different from others’. No, my head isn’t screwed on backwards or anything like that (but with little kids in the house that could be convenient). It’s my brain. From what I can tell, it has the consistency of chewing gum — sometimes things just get stuck there and I need help pulling them out.
Thank God for my critiquing group. To be completely honest, I don’t understand why they let me stay in it. The members have changed over the years but, regardless, the others have always been more intelligent, more worldly and well…more everything than me. And, unlike me, their brains are normal. They know how to force themselves to move forward. Their brains aren’t made of Hubba Bubba.
I’m more than halfway through my new novel and at a pivotal place in the narrative. All had been going well; I was whipping along at an amazing pace, feeling the wind in my hair, the bugs in my teeth, when WHAM! A glass wall. I could see THE END — there, right there on the other side — but this stupid wall was blocking me from getting there. And because I’m me, I saw no way around it. Instead of writing through the wall, I whined. I complained. I spent a lot of time on Twitter. I opened that bottle of wine from 1999 and drank it with three greasy slices of leftover pizza.
None of it helped. Not even the wine.
Which is where my kickass critiquing group comes in. Last night they sat me down. They drew me a diagram. Threw out suggestions. Unstuck those thoughts stuck in my bubble gum brain. I know they were irritated with my whining and with my self-imposed helplessness — God, who wouldn’t be — but they swallowed their annoyance and fed me ideas. They told me I could do it. And that I could do it well.
And I want to thank them for it. Really, those women should be canonized. Total saints. Yes, they are tough. Yes, they are demanding. And they are brutally honest (both with themselves and me).
But their souls shine in pure awesomeness — bright and white as Joe Biden’s teeth.
Thanks, ladies. You are the best.
2 thoughts on “Anatomical differences: An ode to my critiquing group.”
We weren't annoyed with the writing at all, that was fun! As always, you are far too self-critical.
However, we were indeed slightly annoyed that you didn't share any of the '99 wine with us, not to mention the pizza.
I was definitely not annoyed. It's part of the writing process, isn't it, this sense of helplessness, this feeling of having painted oneself into a corner? And it's the role of a critique group. We're lucky to have each other…but yes I would have felt much luckier with some '99 wine and a slice of pizza.