Writing on Wednesday: Return to the Essay and Shoes to Burn
It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride these past few weeks, trying to decide what to write for my contribution to the Shoe Burnin’ event and anthology. The event is slated for 8 p.m. on February 9 at Waterhole Branch, just outside Fairhope, Alabama. I was thrilled when event organizer, Shari Smith, invited me to participate. Check out the Facebook Page for more info and updates. (For some terrific reading, check out Shari’s blog, “Gunpowder, Cowboy Boots and Mascara.”)
Back around Christmas, I sent out a call for names for a short story, and I had a great time considering all my readers’ wonderful suggestions, both here and on Facebook. Last week I was still considering fiction. But yesterday it became clear that I should return to my favorite genre—the personal essay. (All my published pieces to date are essays.) The problem I have with short stories is coming up with a plot that’s complete in 5000 words or less. Everything I think of lends itself towards a book-length piece.
So this morning I drafted the first 3000 words of the essay, which is beginning to feel like a good fit for the Shoe Burnin’. I’m so thankful to Joe Formichella, our wonderful anthology editor, for his advice and guidance so far. I’m actually using some sections of a memoir I wrote a few years ago, Dressing the Part, and crafting an essay from those ideas. Although I decided not to publish the memoir, I love that for the writer, nothing is ever wasted. (I used a revised excerpt from another memoir I didn’t publish, Jesus Freaks, Belly Dancers and Nuns, for my essay for Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality.)
All that’s left now is to finish the essay, work with Joe on revisions, and find a pair of vintage 1970s high heels to toss into the fire. Or some clogs. eBay? Salvation Army? Time to get back to writing… and then go shopping…. (No I didn’t save anything from the ’70s.)