Friday, August 29, 2014


The restless writer: a girl with ants in her pants who wants to learn how to sit her butt down and write. 

Let me explain.

I was born a bundle of nerves. My mother said I came out of the womb with eyes wide open, ready to take on the world around me. From that moment, I haven't stopped careening through life like a whirling dervish. A die-hard social butterfly, I'm quite hard to pin down. Over the past few years, I have worked for myself as a language tutor. Even though I only worked a few hours each afternoon, my schedule was packed with volunteer hours, dinner engagements, wilderness escapades, and a plethora of dance classes. I don't know how to turn down offers for brunch, ballet, or an afternoon paddle. I am also to blame, as I meticulously keep track of events happening around the city – festivals,  art shows, free promotional events – and invite everyone I know. I simply cannot bear to miss a single moment.
And it doesn't stop there. Having spent the first few years of my life living on a sailboat, I caught the wanderlust bug very early in life. Since then, I have spent most of my money and free time on travelling. When I was 20, I embarked on a journey that took me to five continents in 12 months. Much of my traveling has been by sea and foot, as well as the usual suspects - trains, planes, random strangers giving me rides. There's something about traveling that makes me feel alive, when I'm so out of my comfort zone that all I can do is drop the reins and let serendipity do her job. She always comes through.
But I realize that this hyper-extroverted lifestyle, while much fun, is not necessarily sustainable for a writer. I have friends of mine who are artists, fully capable of shutting themselves off from the world and turning themselves on to their work. I can't help but feel jealous of them. Recently, I read an interview with Barbara Kingsolver in the Sun in which she admits that she finds it hard to do readings, meet fans, and engage in the social side of being a writer. She prefers to be home, holed up in her study for much of the day, churning out book after book of gorgeous prose. Again, I am green with envy at her easy introversion. My body fights it with every ounce of my being.
But I have hope! This summer, I read a few books and did some background research on becoming an introvert. I learned that I do harbor some introverted tendencies, but they are deep, deep, deep inside of myself. But hear this, quiet Carmella, this is your time! Come forth and …. sit in a chair for many long hours... Reading. Writing. What’s so scary about that?
Oh, just everything. Only facing the fear of rejection of your very being as an artist. No big deal.

Don't get me wrong! I will never stop exploring the world and all of her wonders. But I think that in order to get good at my craft, it’s time to hide away from the rest of the world – at least for a little while! Perhaps one day I will be capable of balancing a life of crazy extroversion with the hard work of creating art on the page, but I haven't gotten there yet. That is the goal! 
Thank you so much for being with me on this journey. In the future, expect to see more posts about the writing process, my experience in graduate school, and the challenges of teaching Freshman composition.

Yours truly, this hopeless vagabond