The Slippery Pit | blog
graspings by the founder-director & guest-bloggers
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Growing up. Growing realer.

Adolescence. A phase I return to every time I introduce myself at a party or a networking event, learn something new, go dancing, get dressed, put on makeup, fall in love: Do I belong? Am I liked? Am I good, smart, beautiful enough?

Adolescence—coming of age—is a passage in our creative life, too: Who am I as a writer? Where do I want to fit in? What do I need to learn to get better?

I’ve been thinking about adolescence since YA (young-adult literature) novelist Carrie Mesrobian agreed to be our June guest for our Guac & Chips interview and Ripen Your Writing teleseminar (scroll down for info about both freebies and my free May teleseminar). One of my favorite books is the YA novel Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, which I devoured in one afternoon while visiting my twin sister’s middle-school classroom in October 2001; I was thirty-six (and a half). I fell in love with Susan Caraway, the object of protagonist Leo Borlock’s fascination. Stargirl unabashedly marches to the strum of her own ukulele. I wanted to be her BFF; I wanted to be her.

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crockpot

Writer’s Block Is a Crockacado

Heavenly Avocado Sisters, I bow before you and confess that I have too often forgotten that I am a writer. Sometimes I carry on my life as if there are no poems and stories and essays within me, and no notebooks and pens and laptops to record them if they arise. I fall short of being a credible writer among you.

O Holy Word-God, I call to You and name You as eternal, ever-present, and boundless in expression. Yet there are times when I fail to recognize You in the dailyness of my life. Sometimes fear makes me small, and I deny my power of saying. Sometimes doubt crushes my aspiration, and I dishonor my own knowing.

In the daily round from sunrise to sunset, help me seize the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, act courageously, and write from my experience and wisdom.

(If you have any fessin’ up to do, here are some coolacado templates.)

I’ve never called my chronic failure to “put butt in seat and write” writer’s block—defined as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing”—but instead recognize it as a misdiagnosis of one predictably common devil: Fear, expressed via paralyzing perfectionism, an uncooperative inner critic, resignation, cynicism, all manner of rationalization and justification.

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Woman Face by Grauer Codrin

Page as Masquerade

Preparing for this month’s Guac & Chips interview (Oct. 1) and Ripen Your Writing teleseminar “Masking & Unveiling the Writer” (Oct. 10), with Lola Haskins (http://lolahaskins.com), I’ve been considering masks.

How I’ve spent most of my adult years discerning and discarding my social and psychological masks. How I have no impulse to write in any voice but my own. How no fictionalized characters live in me seeking expression via a short story, novel, or persona poem. How three out of five elementary-school theater experiences ended badly. How the last mask I wore—literally and full-face—was a smirking witch, in kindergarten.

But as the song goes, whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, so I’m game for donning some masks if it means accessing my authenticity toward better writing (and living).

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Animal Mineral Radical book cover1

Animal? Mineral? Radical?

I’ve never played the “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?” game (thank-godacado for visual instructions:  http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Animal-Vegetable-or-Mineral).

And I never met, during my comics-reading phase, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, a supervillain who can change any part of his body into, well, any animal, vegetable, or mineral—or combo thereof.

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mourning veil by Angelina

Unveiling My Family Story

“We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along [in the memory of others] for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.”

Widower Max Morden, in John Banville’s novel The Sea, likens grief to a gene passed down.

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Gail Storey book cover

Lessons from the Pacific Crest Trail

I’m halfway through Gail Storey’s memoir, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail—in preparation for her upcoming Guac & Chips interview and Ripen Your Writing teleseminar—and I’m struck by the fact that every venture, even of the feet, is ultimately a cell-splitting journey of the self.

It makes sense, then, that the language stopping me in my tracks while navigating Gail’s endearingly gutsy narrative has illuminated my own interior journey since launching The Avocado Sisterhood a month ago.

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avocado pit in leaf

Eggocado: On Inspired Creations

Baking an egg in a halved avocado is one of author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss’ s strategies for simplifying cooking—and his life. Aside from the fact that the concoction’s image made me want to head straight into the kitchen to retrieve a Pyrex casserole from the cabinet’s far recesses (a rare impulse), my recent online encounter with this dish—the Eggocado—seemed auspicious: while drafting text for this website and the e-announcement to launch The Avocado Sisterhood, I’d been cracking myself up suffix-izing words with -ocado or its variant, -acado.

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