3) Probably as a result of #1 + a healthy dose of #2, I was feeling pretty bummed. I didn’t contemplate ending my life, but wondered about those who did. I remembered a news story noting how many people left that last note to their families, versus those who didn’t. I wondered why some people couldn’t write one, and what might happen if they had another option (re: the note, mind you; not their lives, or else my story had no plot).
As part of a workshop, I had acute knowledge of some really good writers–a few are my workshop colleagues via Facebook like Simone Gorrindo (a marvelous nonfiction writer, poet and journalist) and Harriet Goldman (thanks for introducing me to kibbutzim!)–trying to gain experience writing or getting published. One of my more organized colleagues, Jane, once brought in a color-coded Excel sheet that showed every publication she’d submitted to, how many times she’d submitted a story, how many rejections or nonresponses she’d logged, resubmissions, etc. over a five-year period (by now it’s about 10 years). If and when I remembered to submit a story anywhere (call me shy; more honestly, scared into nonaction), I never thought of logging it anywhere.
Writers write whenever they can (I’m finally giving myself over to that), and I have always liked the idea of themed writing. I took a senior course in college called Daily Themes, and nervous energy almost forced me upright in my chair when the professor began reading my story at the end of class one day, chosen from a box of 100+ entries submitted by students each week. No one realistically expected to be read aloud in Daily Themes. Hearing my published professor projecting my quick tale about Catholic schoolgirls in Brooklyn, I leaned so far forward in surprise and wonder I was nearly nuzzling the girl in front of me.