Can't Let Go

So today, I spent the day listening to smart people talk about creativity and art programs for special populations--namely, people with dementia and/or frailty. It was fascinating. Also exhausting.

Earlier this week, I revised an essay from a few years back. I'd received some good feedback, sent it a couple of places that weren't impressed, and let it ripen in a drawer while I worked on my novel and the essay collection that became my book.

So now I have a revision. It's not 100% beautifully ripe, but it's within a draft or two of expressing what I want it to express.


It suffers from a whole lot of "who cares?" I mean, I care. But why would someone else? I had no answer.

So I figured, oh well. It's going to be one of those essays that needed to be written (and written well, if I say so myself), but doesn't necessarily need to be published. I have a couple of short stories in that state, too.

So, today. As I sat in presentations and workshops, a little voice in my ear kept saying, "But YOU care. It's meaningful to YOU. WHY is it so meaningful to you? What about this essay called you back after several years of not thinking about it? Why can't you let it go?"

And then, home after the presentations/workshops, I read this article on Jane Friedman's site: A Good Memoir is an Act of Service, by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Which has given me more food for thought, especially the bullet point that suggests, "Press on what hurts in order to understand what you fear."

Well, OK then. I guess I will. Even if I never send it out again. I really WOULD like to know why I can't let it go. I really WOULD like another crack at expressing that urgency and importance in a way someone else would understand.

(The presentations and workshops were good, too.)