post by Lynn
There was no fence. Luna, the dog, is a runner, so we installed an electric fence – a system where a collar delivers a shock if the dog crosses over the boundary wire. We followed the training directions point by point, but then we had a mishap. Luna pulled the leash out of my hand before we had completely trained her on the boundaries. She ran. She got shocked. Repeatedly. I cried.
Amazingly, she didn’t run away. But she got it. She knows the boundaries now. We don’t even need to put the collar on her. Even with the marking flags covered over in snow, she doesn’t step one centimeter over the line.
You see where I’m going with this, right? We all have invisible boundaries in our writing life which, because of the memory of some long-ago punishment, we will not cross.
For me it’s poetry. I will gleefully dabble in fiction and non, play and screenwriting, essay, you name it. But a long while back I penned some really bad poetry, submitted it to a contest, and got a critique. ZAP!
Ever since, I stop at that line, gazing out into poetry land thinking I ought to go there someday, but the pain memory stops me.
Until now. I’ve finally realized that I want to go there worse than I fear the jolt of failure. I want to play in the terrain of that genre – its steep images and deep fissures of symbolism. Poetry is a stark desert with no place to hide, and it is the next stop on my writing journey.
So, God help me, I just started a poetry class at Laramie County Community College.
I cringe as I stretch my toe over the line…
What invisible boundaries are you loathe to cross in your writing life?