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Give and Live that “Transcended Experience Awe”

April 15, 2011

It has been 4 days of morning sessions with Donald Maass, followed up by personal writing time, one on one meets with Lorn Oberweger & Jason Sitzes, critique groups with fellow attendees and glasses of red wine.  I am a different woman than I was

Editor Jason Sitzes with fellow writer Maggie Adams

on Monday morning, the day of my birth. When I arrived here that afternoon and  took my first walk along the Columbia River, a full rainbow arced through the not-so-distant sky.  I took it as a sign that signaled good things to come.  It was. 

Beyond the skills I have learned in this workshop, it is this piece of information that is most meaningful to me.  The ability to produce an excellent novel, one that moves people, brings people to the state, and I quote from Don, “Transcended Experience Awe,” is in my hands.  All I have to do is the work.  Everyone knows that I am not afraid of work, so there you have it.  I can do this thing. 

I wonder what brings us to make certain decisions, like for example, my decision to attend this workshop weeks before I am moving to another state, when boxes sit half-packed, rooms remain partially painted, and funds are precious.  It was a gut feeling, more than that really, a gut need, to take this step.  I guess the point I want to make in this blog post, is that somewhere inside, we know what we need to do to shape our lives

My Hotel Desk

into the story we most want to live and tell.  Today in class, we were talking about cutting scenes from our novels, scenes that are filler, slow, travel scenes, you know the type.  They are the ones we skim over.  Donald said “when we write our first draft, there is some reason why we put every scene in the book, it may be subconscious, but it is in there for a reason.”  He went on to say that it isn’t so much about cutting the scene, but instead extracting the important kernel, the meaning  of the scene and writing it in a way that brings value to the story and the reader. 

I think this is true about life too.  We make decisions for good and bad, but if we make those decisions honestly and from the heart, there is some kernel of truth in them that we can mine, a shred of self-realization that we can extract to live more authentically.  I miss my husband right at this moment, terribly, because I want to throw myself in his arms and share my excitement.  So instead, as the northern Oregon rain falls on the Columbia River, I will throw that verve into the writing I am about to do.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2011 12:17 am

    I do sooo feel you are on the right track. And I truly admire your ability to ‘focus’, and to brave the unknown. I too believe in rainbows as a divine sign and have a fantastic true story for another time.

  2. Carolyn Tennefoss permalink
    April 16, 2011 4:04 pm

    Dear Julie, I am so proud of you for doing this. Looking forward to hearing more. Love,mom

  3. April 21, 2011 3:35 pm

    Awesome blog posts! It was nice to meet you in Hood River! One small correction to your post – the writer with Jason is Maggie Adams, not Emily. Cheers!

    • April 21, 2011 4:04 pm

      It was great meeting you too. Thanks for the heads up about Maggie. I’m gonna fix that right now! Happy Writing…

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