Martha Amore: Meet Bane

Martha Amore is teaching the 49 Writers Fiction Apprenticeship this fall. Individualized and delivered using distance technology, it’s the perfect opportunity for anyone in the state, or the world for that matter, to get one-on-one assistance from a published fiction writer. Applications are due Monday, October 1.

does writing fiction have to do with roller skating?  I’ve been thinking about this question for
the past few weeks because this semester I set off on two new ventures:
teaching the Fiction Apprenticeship through 49 Writers and becoming a roller
derby girl.  Writing, like skating, can
be scary when you are starting out, but once you’re going, both can feel like
flying.  I discovered this truth during
my first week at the rink.  But there is
a deeper link between the two, which finally came to me at last Monday’s
practice.  To be honest, I didn’t realize
it on my own.  A veteran roller derby
girl, who had been watching me skate drills, hollered this enlightenment into
my helmet-covered ear. 
The rink was dark, the
disco lights flashing, and she had to yell to be heard above the thumping bass
of LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I know It.” 
“My derby name is Bane,”
she said, knocking her wrist guard against mine in greeting. “You know, like
I’m the Bane of your existence.”
“Are you?” I asked.
“Probably,” she
answered, “but in a good way.  I’ve been
watching you skate and I have some important advice for you.”
I waited, popping my
mouth guard off my teeth and then clicking it back into place, expecting her to
go on about some technical aspect of the sport. 
“Well, what?” I finally said.
“Get out of your comfort
zone.  You’re afraid to cross that back
skate very far behind your front one. 
You’ll never improve if you’re afraid to improve.”
She skated off into the
darkness of the rink, leaving me alone to contemplate her insight.  I thought I was doing a great job on the
drills, not having fallen a single time, but she was right.  I wasn’t crossing the back skate much at
all.  Maybe I was staying upright, but
what did that mean if I wasn’t improving my skills?  Hiding out in my comfort zone, I
thought.  And it dawned on me that I’m
guilty of the same when it comes to writing. 
Afraid to write certain truths, afraid to go a new way with a project,
afraid to show my unfinished drafts to my mentors.  No more, I’ve decided.  From now on, I will make a point to take
Bane’s advice and get out of my comfort zone. 
And if I fall . . . wait a minute, not if, but when!  When I fall, I’ll rejoice in the knowledge
that I’m improving.

Martha Amore is a published fiction and non-fiction writer, and she teaches writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Fine Arts from UAA.  Currently at work on a novel, her short story “Freeze Up” is coming out this fall in Canada’s Room Magazine.  Martha lives in Anchorage with her husband, three daughters, two dogs, a cat, and many chickens and bees.  
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