All the latest news, ideas, and opinions from Denver's Independent Literary Center: lighthousewriters.org
by Karin Belz
Writing is my obsession.
A year ago, I quit my job and sold everything to become a writer. A good friend who loved my crazy ideas said, “Go to Colorado, get lost and stumble upon greatness.” Sounded like a good plan to me.
So I got lost. At the Denver County Fair.
I stumbled upon Dan Manzanares who pointed me in the direction of Lighthouse.
Somehow I had found my new home. A writer’s paradise with really thin air (it was Denver after all). I began to write like a possessed woman. I wrote in my phone’s diary app every night and, with eyes half open, in my daily morning pages. I wrote in the numerous classes I signed up for at the Lighthouse. I continued to write at all the Friday 500, Write Denver, and the Denver Art Museum’s Drop-In Writing sessions. Every chance I got to write with fellow writers, I took it, each word a warm-up for the bigger undertakings I had ahead of me. My writer dream was taking flight. I was developing callouses on my fingertips.
My first real writer attempt? THE novel. As my fellow writers obligingly confirmed, I had a damn brilliant idea. Serious fiction, post apocalyptical best seller, possibly a movie with one, no, two sequels. Serendipitously, I met an agent and pitched it. She asked to read it.
“It’s not done.” (state of panic)
“Oh, that’s ok. You can send it to me when it’s in a decent draft form.” (read: as soon as possible)
<Sigh> (more panic)
I went home and shelved the first forty pages. Success is scary.
Back to my morning pages and more classes.
Next stop? Screenwriting. That had to be easier than writing THE novel. The setting would be Europe (read: expensed trip) Historical fiction. A fairy tale romance that would give Downton Abbey a run for the money. Or so I thought until I was eliminated in the first round of a screenplay competition. My confidence burst like a pimple on a pubescent. (seriously?)
I shelved those twenty pages next to my novel collecting hairspray residue. Sticky stuff.
Oh, love of my love, poetry was next. (of course it was, dear) The muse glowed luminescent and effervescent in my mind. I shared my poetry with local poets. I like to believe it inspired them to write more. They got published. I didn’t.
Was it the multiple inferences to my female anatomy or did I just use the word “f*&!s” too much? Rejection sucks. (now that rhymes)
What was left now? Go back to Dallas? Hell no.
Short stories! Easy peasy. Fiction a là 7-11. (stop hissing, fellow short story writers, there’s a point here!) I tried. I really tried. But it became a vicious cycle of submit and reject, submit and reject, submit and reject.
My milkshake did not bring the agent-boys to the yard. (seriously, what’s with these metaphors?)
My coach (read: therapist) has always said I should look on the Italian side of things. Make lemonade. Or limoncello. Or drink more limoncello? I forget. But I do remember her adage: Write What You Know.
And here’s the critical turning point, my fellow acolytes. I rented a desk at Lighthouse’s Writerspace, and after many tortuous twists and turns, I finally completed the first draft of my revelatory, transformational, biopic novel loosely based on my mystical journey to foreign lands. It’s a damn good story! (sigh)
So, my dear Lighthouse, thank you for your unexpected greatness. YOU are my magnetic vortex of inspiration, camaraderie, tough love, empty wine bottles, soirees and endless writerly love-hugs. I thank you for feeding me more than food! And to my dear writer friends, may the muse land on your sticky words like a fly on flypaper! (seriously? oh, come on!)
Happy writing, y’all!
Karin Belz is a new writer on the scene who does not limit herself to one genre. She has signed up for a blogging class next and promises to avoid metaphors altogether. (Seriously? Nah.) Read more from Karin on her blog.