distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

This morning I cut my hair. Sloppily. I grabbed the scissors, stood on the couch so I could see the big mirror, and just chopped. I may have cut off more than I meant to, but my hair was long to begin with, so not a big deal. And to be honest? If it looks crooked, I don’t care.

I’ve become very contemplative since yesterday’s post. I just don’t feel happy now—even if I’m forcing a smile at work, down deep in there where work people don’t see I’m feeling pretty hopeless. I want it to go away.

Now I am here at my morning writing spot. A dapper old guy sits nearby, blacking his dress shoes. On the other side, a young man studies for the MCAT. I walked outside this morning to flurries and a light dusting of snow—a white sheet draped over the sidewalk and street, not yet walked on and ruined. There’s a hopeful air here. A loud man just asked me for a quarter. He’s asking everyone—someone will give him one.

One year ago today:

“Dear Nova, I did finally finish your novel, and I’m sorry that, in the end, I’m not offering to represent it. I found your writing extremely involving, and I really did care about the characters and need to see the story through to the end. But somewhere around p.150 the story came apart for me. [Details cut.] I am sorry not to be writing with better news. I think you are a wonderful story teller and, should you still be searching for an agent, I would be happy to read any future work. I hope very good things happen to your novel (which I will return under separate cover).”

Has it taken me a full year to see something hopeful in that?

I’d like to cut out the blah part of my life and just get to the good stuff. If only I could use the scissors! The thing is, I know I have to work through it. And I will. I will. I will. I just wish the work would go faster.

9 responses to “Cuts”

  1. Oh, how I wish I could take scissors to my life! (My hair could probably use some snipping too.)

    I see a lot of hope in that letter. I’m glad you are able to see it now.

  2. I think it’s natural for us to want to skip over that “working through it” part. But that’s where the growth is. The challenge is to enjoy wherever you are, while you are there. Or maybe not “enjoy,” but to make the most of it.

    I stopped by my parents the other day and talked a bit about my work and how I didn’t necessarily feel it was my “life work.” My dad responded (and I’ll probably write a post on this) “grow where you’re planted.” Hmmmm. . .

  3. So much here, Ms Nova.

    Change for the sake of change. Feelings of contemplation and hopelessness and then “a hopeful air” and “something hopeful” there at the end. I am still struggling through my own devils and black clouds of doubt but there seems to be a ray of sunshine here. Do you feel it? You have cut out some of the letter, but I agree with Annika — I see some carefully chosen positive words (including being called “a wonderful story teller”). There is definitely something positive to take from all of this.

    Hope you can find comfort in that.

  4. Oooh–I wish you luck on this new vector. That letter is pretty tough to read (and it wasn’t even addressed to me!), but I am glad you are using it for a new journey. 🙂

  5. Good luck! Change is difficult. I think how you described feeling, must be in the air. I’ve been feeling that way for several days. I hope it passes soon.

  6. This post really resonated with me. I cut my hair with the kitchen scissors, and often lately I’m tremendously fed up with the way my writing is going. It’s bad because I have a contract for an academic book, but the writing is terrible at the moment -limping and awkward and painfully slow. I ought to be delighted and motivated, and I feel instead I’d just like to go shopping. Bon courage, nova! We’ll get there, somehow, in the end.

  7. So my hair didn’t turn out too terribly. E likes it actually! And you can’t tell if it’s crooked, because it curls. Score.
    As for that letter, it’s worse with the details left in. I appreciate that she took the time to tell me, because there’s no mystery, but the reality is NO FUN either. I might send to her again with something else one day. I liked her.
    I got that rejection letter while in Paris. I was unable to say out loud what had just happened, but I remember walking the narrow little streets near the Seine on the Left Bank, holding it all in, feeling like I was sinking.

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