Monday, January 29, 2007

In Spite of Fear

Posted by Lisa

I got scared Saturday morning.

It was a lost in the snowy woods at night time scared. (Which actually happened to me last year, but that's another story for another blog entry - or maybe it isn't).

What really happened was that I was on my way to give a presentation for work and I got turned around. I found myself lost in the middle of nowhere (which is technically called Framingham). If you haven't lived in Massachusetts, you wouldn't know there are black holes in the infrastructure here. Of course, you may have heard of the tragic ceiling collapse in the Route 93 tunnel last summer. But you may not know that planning of highways, naming of roads, it's all been done in a rather haphazard, higgedly-piggedly, random manner; I used to work at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston where Stuart Street turns into Kneeland Street, just because. Go figure!

As the clock on my dashboard ticked it's way toward 9:00, I struggled to find my way to the company, Therapro, where I was to speak. I made it - somehow. But I haven't been that nervous in a long, long while.

Getting lost, getting scared got me thinking. In regards to writing, I ask myself, how can I stay on track? Does my writers' group help me? I think it does. The novel I'm working on now... it's, well, a little different. I have only shared five chapters with my writers' group, and the different part is going to come in the next installment. I wonder what they will say. Taking on this challenge introduces an element of fear; I hope I'm not completely off the mark.

Michael Lowenthal, an instructor at Boston College and Lesley University, as well as Grub Street, has recently published his third novel, Charity Girl. I bought it over the weekend. It is based on a little known period in US history, during World War I, when the government incarcerated thousands of young women found to have venereal disease. Did Michael Lowenthal experience a level of fear in writing about this, well, very different subject? Perhaps, if he did, he faced that fear and in doing so, produced prose that are unique: compelling yet challenging, all of it beautifully written - I'm halfway through and busy turning pages. Maybe fear produces greatness. Maybe fear motivates. Maybe fear of getting lost is good. Heck, maybe actually getting lost is good sometimes.

1 comment:

Patry Francis said...

Lowenthal's novel sounds fascinating. I love the title,too.