Sunday, October 31, 2010

saying goodbye to the time of magical creatures

 saying goodbye
to the magic that kissed thy brow
to your rosy cheeked spirit calling out in delight
How I long to see again, wonder in your eyes.
My fair reason filled boy
wont you carry any wonder with you into manhood?
 Oh if I could but pack your suitcase, the incredible things you would take with you.
And that is what I thought I was doing all these years. (filling you up, with carved pumpkins, sparkly trees, painted eggs, bits of fairy wings, and robin's egg shells, of Christmas, of candles, of twinkly lights, and of glowing clouds at sunset.)
Yes I know growing up does mean the setting down of certain childish things
I wouldn't have you standing in a field awaiting the great pumpkin,
or knocking out your grown-up teeth in hopes of cash under your pillow
but you don't need to leave it all behind,
hold onto the magic, the spirit, that flows behind it at the source.
At fourteen you won't express it, but I hope it is alive
in childhood's memory
its wings folded, tucked inside your heart.
so that if (when) you need them
they will awake and flutter within
strong enough to carry you through.

(to lift a heavy heart through hard times.)
for sometimes what seems silly and frivolous, glitter on construction paper,
strands of lights strung round a tree, is merely a trinket, a tangible tie to something much greater, something vast deep and strong. Something you should keep with you, your whole life long.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

  This is going to be a long haul.  I don't know why it should feel like such a hard thing to do.  I just starting reading over Echo, yep 2 1/2 pages in, and already I've bolted to come here and whine about it.  I will say this though, I read my initial first page of chapter one, and then the one I rewrote last March, and the March one is better (and I even know why and how it is better!).  So the good news is that while I am terrified to read over my work and attempt to "fix" it, I do have proof already by page one, that I am capable of reading over it and making improvements.

a bit like cleaning one's house top to bottom, reorganizing the contents of drawers and closets, choosing what to keep and what to toss, and deciding where everything goes, and how you want each room to look, and to many many decisions, and I have never been good at that.  Oh look here I have procrastinated myself out of time (surprise surprise).  Not good.  I must get my son from school and take him to the Ortho.  Well at least I'll take a book.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

     I've finished reading, A Dash of Style.  But I do still need to do the exercises that are present at the end of each chapter.  I have found it helpful.  It has given me new ways to think about the writing, about how I express myself.  And I see I have much work to do.  But thank God also that I have a map, some way of guiding myself through it. 

    Just as I am hiding from doing the exercises so too am I hiding from doing the editing.  A task that has long daunted me, and makes me quiver with uncertainty and dread.  But now I know what I am looking for, what I am going to try to change.  And finally I have realized that I can't go through it page by page making it "right".  I'm going to instead look at it for each thing separately.  First I'll go through for content, for story, then I will improve how that breaks down into chapters, and paragraphs.  I will go through it once for action verbs.  Once for the lengths of sentences.  Going on like that. Because when I have gone through trying to fix it sentence by sentence, I never knew what was right or wrong and it all just fell apart.  Instead I will go through strengthening one thing at a time. And only worrying about one thing at a time.

    Sin and Syntax, is next on my reading list.  Mostly I am concerned with sentence structure.
    Currently I am reading, Harry Potter's Bookshelf the great books behind the Hogwarts adventures, by John Granger. And I am really enjoying it.  I feel like I am learning plenty of stuff that will help me in my own writing, but reading it isn't work it's pleasure. 

    So far in my readings for my writing in the past year I've learned how really important it is to make your characters sympathetic.  I know that sounds obvious, but that doesn't mean that one automatically writes in the best way for it.  I have learned that in my tendency to be bright (as in cheerful not intelligent) that I miss opportunities to have readers care about my characters.  I don't sit down, and dwell in the uncomfortable emotions, my tendency is instead to glide above.  And I need to let some pain show through.

   I like having the over-all structure, the story down, but nothing set, nothing fully done, because the books I'm reading tell things that offer me the opportunity to look at the story in a new way.  My tone, my atmosphere is light.  But I've realized with Fountain of Swans how it could be Gothic instead.  How the elements are already there, and it is interesting to look at the same story through this other lens and see if it might be better.  When I was considering changing it to first person (still haven't decided) I was upset because then something that happens to the character will be a mystery for us just like it is for her.  And for some reason I felt like that couldn't be so.  But now from doing this reading, I realize that it would heighten the sympathy and the tension in the story if the reader shares the characters feelings, in not knowing why this thing is happening.  Then the mystery to be solved can be one reader and character share.

   Now I don't know if I will or will not do that (make it Gothic, make it a mystery), as I have said I haven't been working directly on my writing (because I am a wimp) but I love the fact that I am engaged in thinking about the stories in new ways.

    Well October is nearly over.  I know my focus should be on editing Echo.  I do feel like a failure for failing to do so. But I am seriously considering signing up for NaNoWriMo again.  Why?  Because it fosters daily practice.  It promotes bum glue. It helps me to tap into the energy of many moving forward together. My goal isn't to finish.  But Fresh Oranges has long been neglected, and I could hash out parts of that story.  The deal with myself being three hours a day, either I write Oranges, or I edit Echo.  The only way to escape doing one being doing the other.