Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Open Letter to My Teenage Self

You in Pisa, 1990. Fashion rule number one: Don't ever wear a fanny pack, for crying out loud.

Dear Teenage Self:

Okay, here’s the deal. You’re currently sitting in a windowless room in a high school built like a fortress; you’re surrounded by other sweaty teenagers, your anxiety swelling. You feel trapped. You think high school is the worst it’s going to get. Sadly, you’re wrong. Your mistakes are going to get more plentiful, meaningful, and painful as you get older. You have it easy. (No, seriously, don’t laugh.) You’re only 16 and barely have any responsibilities. That Algebra II homework you’re stressing about? Don’t. Worried about dropping out of AP Bio and not even signing up for AP Lit? Forget it. You won’t even remember your grades after you get to college. There is no such thing as a permanent record.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Super Star - Chelsey Drysdale on Shawna Kenney

Shawna Kenney (left) and Chelsey Drysdale (me!) in San Francisco before our Book Lovers reading in Oakland

My 2013 New Year’s resolution was to start writing again. I’d taken a number of online classes before, but I hadn’t written a word in two years; my latest workshop had deflated me. There I felt judged on my character rather than my work. I was labeled based on one essay about one incident. The responses drove me into hiding.

I’m not good enough. This is as far as I’m going to get, I thought.

But when I’m not writing, my soul suffers.

So, after a two-year ego-healing break, I decided to try again. This time I wasn’t going to hide behind the Internet. I wanted face-to-face interaction with other writers.