Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Uneven progress this past year, as I tried to learn, but often felt too stupid to, so questioned the point of trying, the value in any of it, why write? and thus regularly ended up in the bog of why bother.
Sometimes I look at this story through the lens of what others might think of it. And it falls apart, and I fall apart. I say it is saccharine schlock and poorly written schlock. And I am hounded and faithless for a while. Then suddenly the clamoring voices quiet, scattered away by some unknown force. And I sense again the faint music. Like it has come and sought me out. And I lean closer to the echo, to hear it stripped away from my cumbersome words. Free from my pen as I fumble toward it. To know what it is meant to be. And I am taken again. Wings flutter, and I follow, lamenting only my inability to transmute purely. That the conduit has a soft heart but awkward hands (maybe mine's an awkward mind). Perhaps this one, this first one, this hardest one, is just for me. Maybe I have to struggle to learn to write, to rise to my best ability, to become better, to tell this story for no one else, but me. And that, that is enough.
It has to be.
Enough because I need to fully know the story, or it wouldn't have come, and stayed and waited so long, asking again and again, year in, year out, know me. And I wont be free till I have given it my best. And not today's best either, one that involves becoming more, a best beyond what I know how to do today. It asks, it requires, more.
I have no interest in further questioning the act, that would be a waste of time. I have arrived at the answer (again and again). It is who I am, it has meaning to me. I am a butterfly hunter (and a dishwasher, and a mom, etc.,). So having validated the dream, the urge to pursue if only for an audience of one, as enough to warrant time and effort. I must now surrender all my excuses. As I'm also naturally a dreamer (a day dreamy dreamer), and to just be a dreamer is no longer enough. There must always be action, muddy boots, and callused hands. My arms should hurt from swinging the net. I must keep close enough to warrant a swing. My eyes trained to seek and pick out her wings from amongst the dense foliage. I need a map, to track, to record. I hope to avoid much pointless wandering. This is the year of strategy.
This is the year I ask, what am I willing to give?
Not what do I want, I know that.
But what am I willing to do to get there.
And because it has been so hard to gather energy and muster forward, when I felt that even if I did manage to make it good, no one would be interested in publishing it (that I would reach a wall), I have decided on e-publishing as and end goal. I have needed an end goal. To know I was headed somewhere. It is a different dream. Not one of physically holding a book in my hands, my name on it, my story. To see it in a bookstore, to see it in a library. To have others believe in it, and promote it. Goodbye to the hope of making it big.
No. Now I just want to go through and edit it (re-write, rewrite, rewrite.), and make it the best that I can. I want to finish it. And to send it out apart from me. I don't expect her to fly far. I hope that she will be seen by a handful of people. If by no one, that would make me sad, but a few people, who I can imagine she would hold some value for, that would make me happy.
So now that the end is no longer a wall of no, but a window, I have no excuse not to go.
Not to do everything I can to get there.
Since this year's writing conference I have mostly been focusing on strategy. On developing one, and I have already turned my first idea on its head. I had focused on trying to learn grammar this past year, since I know I am weak in this area. I felt if I could build competency in this, I would build confidence, and be able to truly move forward.
Nope. It hasn't happened.
I've improved slightly, but mostly I have felt more doubt and stumbled more. Insecurity causing incapacitation.
So for progress's sake, grammar will wait. Instead I am focusing on content, on story, on story telling. There is much to learn in this area, and I understand what I read about it. The ideas don't confuse me and elude my grasp.
Though often my first response to an idea is, that idea is stupid, artificial, I wont be doing that. But I give it time to sink in, time for stubbornness to meet sway. In fact now I know this is part of my learning process. First I read it, second totally discount it, third decide to apply it ever so slightly. Like a tentative tip of tongue tasting something expected to be bitter. And then finally discover, that it has value, but that I will work it in in ways and proportions that make sense to me.
So I am not afraid in this (as afraid). I know I will make progress. And after I have done all I can with learning how to make the story stronger, more compelling, (and for God's sake for me to stop taking the conflict and tension out of the story, when I am supposed to be making it more acute) then I will turn my focus on grammar. Actually I am hoping, perhaps foolishly so, that some of those sorts of mistakes will be naturally worked out. That as the story becomes stronger, some of the grammatical problems will get knocked out of it in the process.
So that's this year's plan. Make it more interesting, increase the tension, feel the characters, make it with words, visually alive. I read over the story while waiting to pick up my son at school. And there is one benefit in having waited so long, it does feel new to me. And I am able to see things more clearly. I'm not afraid of my own little red pen, strike it out! This doesn't work, that doesn't work. And it doesn't hurt me to say it, to do it, it feels empowering, because I know. There isn't the lost confusion (at the moment) of- is this better? is that? ugh I don't know. So whenever I know things need to be reworked, and why, and have a clue as to how, I am happy. Really happy.
Wish me good work. My mood will be highly variable, so I'll have to hold to something deeper than that.
( don't know what the problem is, I have tried to publish this with photos, starting two months ago, never ever works for some reason, so I'm trying without photos. My son wont help me as he is busy baking a cake.) Hah! Giving up was the ticket. :) (well that and then trying again after publish.) Son is busy gloating feeling assured his cake will be better than the last one I made, years ago, we called it the cow patty, and gave it as a gift to the trash can, which was unable to refuse the refuse. Since I can't bake I've been called to wash the dishes.)