My recent writing life has been one extended dry spell, though I wouldn’t say I’m literally not writing. I’m plugging away at my novel in progress. The real problem is that I seem to have lost my nerve when it comes to finishing.
“I get it: I keep trying to build cathedrals when I should be building yurts.”
Jan Clausen, Goddard MFAW faculty: Using the hashtag #writersresist, a group founded by poet Erin Belieu of VIDA has called for writers to come together and defend “[the] most basic principles of freedom and justice for all.”
Goddard College MFAW-VT faculty member Jan Clausen: “I get it. I keep trying to build cathedrals when I should be building yurts.” This comment from an advisee, about her struggle to get annotations down to more manageable dimensions, has stuck with me for years as a witty image for one of the perennial dilemmas of critical writing.
“Was My Life Worth Living?” is the wonderful title of an essay by the American anarchist Emma Goldman. I’ve always loved her blunt phrasing of the ultimate question behind the writing of personal narrative. Recently I’ve been faced with my own version of her conundrum, as I’ve been immersed in the text of my memoir Apples and Oranges…