Friday, January 9, 2009

Acts of Faith

Dear Friends,

Today, on this cold winter Friday, the sun just a platinum shimmer in a silvery sky, I plan to crack my novel-in-progress. I've been away from this book for awhile, out and about on behalf of The White Space Betweeen, celebrating the holidays with my family, doing freelance projects.

I'm anxious, the pile of printed paper, some 100 pages or so, possesses a forcefield around it. Wish I could have a stiff drink to help me belly up to the task...but it's too early! And I'm not a big drinker anyway.

Why is writing so scary? Well, what's inside can be as terrifying, compelling, as what is outside.

Why so daunting? There is that pesky gap one must bridge between the glimmering conception of a story and the actualization of that story, the distance between the perfect idea and the dishevelled jumble of words, characters, and notions on a page that compose most first drafts. Usually, something in there glows, there is a nugget to build on. One must persevere, have faith, put that ole critic out on the back porch, even in the outhouse for awhile. Writers must be kind to themselves in order to keep on keeping on, kind and tough and uncompromising.

Got to commit to serious ass-in-chair time to do the work.

Writing is an act of faith. Good work accomplished by venturing into unknown territory, taking risks. For me, stories are how I make sense of my life and the world, how I attempt to create some order--and beauty--out of chaos.


peacelovesweetness said...

The thought: "Stories are how I make sense of my life and the world, how I attempt to create some order--and beauty--out of chaos." is quite beautiful. It describes the reason that so many people MUST read before they go to bed, the reason that so many people couldn't live without reading, and possibly writing as well. The reason that so many people are still happy in their lives--because your book, your story, your key to the past is right on your bedside table. Thank you.

Leo said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head with your identification of the challenge of getting an idea that is rambling around inside your head - complete with visual setting, dialogue, place and purpose - translated into words that convey the same thing.

I tend to gnaw at a piece, sometimes obsessively, until the words convey just what I want them to. And that's the source of the fear, I find, that I cannot get it right, that the vision remains locked in the head and is unable, no matter how many times I take a crack at it, to get out the way it should.

And I envy you, having the time to place the 'ass in the chair' and dedicate some serious think time to your vision. If only . . .