Thursday morning, the to-do list on my phone reminded me that I had a post due for SleuthSayers on Friday—and I had no idea what to write about. But then I started reflecting on several things that had happened recently involving other blank pages and anxieties about how to put something down on them or about what had already been put down there.
I’m not sure that this ultimately goes anywhere productive, but I hope readers might still appreciate—and maybe have some memories or insights of their own nudged. I can say I’m sure thinking about all this myself.
Here’s the opening paragraphs of my post:
Three weeks ago, I helped lead a Fiction Intensive workshop with high school students at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, VA—young writers released from their regular schedules for the day to concentrate on creative writing. We worked through a number of exercises on building character, plot, and setting, stopping at several points for the students to share their exercises aloud. The work they were doing was imaginative and exciting, even in those quick timed exercises (which I’m never good at myself). Last Friday, I returned to Broad Run for a reading in front of a large assembly—me reading some of my work and several students volunteering to read too. In advance of that reading, I offered a critique of those students’ drafts—and continued to be impressed by their work and then also by their readings in front of their peers too. Braver than I might have been at their age, I have to tell you!
But several things stood out to me along the way—things that… well, troubled is too strong a word, and puzzled too, I guess, but maybe intrigued?
A couple of things struck me, let’s say that, and my thinking about them has continued to gain momentum over the past week….