Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A cup of coffee

I know most of my writing is fueled by a way of communing with all of those people whose words have made me leap out of my own head a little—who have brought me to another shore with the shock of recognition.

I feel very alone right now, but then I read something like The Mother Knot and I know myself again, outside of myself, created and narrated through someone else’s words.

The book itself, solid and smooth in my hand, pages gently flapping in the breeze—the book is a testament to the possibilities of my nascent dreams. The book was also stolen from hours of intermittent infant sleep, one ear trained on the half opened door that seemed to breathe with the charge inside. The fingers flew over the typewriter, racing each one of those breaths until the inevitable wail of wakefulness brought an end to creation for that one day. I’m sure it dragged on, pulled out and pushed into corners of the closet, out of the baby’s toddling reach. I’m sure it was patted, growing heavy with symbolism, carrying the author’s entire sense of self in its disheveled papers.

But she finished it, and she published it, the book that curled around granted minutes and chanted nursery rhymes, and came together through the author’s stubborn determination to write herself into existence even as everyone around her waited for her to surrender, one lone drop into the sea of motherhood. And she finished it, and she published it, and thirty years later, I take it as a hand pulling me forward into the life I know I can create, the self I know I can express.

And so I write, and add my humble "thank you" to the Fates that placed a pearl of encouragement in my path.

It might be insanity, it might be some serious windmill tilting, but I have decided to attempt National Novel Writing Month this year. I love the grand celebration of it all, and the sheer force of all of those novels being born at the same time has already managed to pull one (very, very, very rough and unformed) first baby draft out of me.

Last time, I chose to finish the story in the allotted words, something that lead to some very skimpy scenes and plotlines, and since then I’ve discovered it’s easier to take things out then go back later and add them. So...I probably won’t be finishing my story in the 50K, but I hope to have a strong foundation for continuing.

Any pointers on developing and outlining a long form plot? I have a very vague idea of my character’s history and various conflicts right now, but I’m having trouble coming up with scenes. Any authors that you can recommend that do this especially well?

Anyone else doing this?

From freewillastrology:

"When East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia after a long, bloody struggle, the United Nations temporarily took control of the new nation, inundating it with aid and support. But the international agency's work was short-lived, lasting just three years, and ultimately became known as Quickfixville. The errors resulting from its hurried efforts have been hard to undo. Don't make a similar gaffe in the coming weeks, Gemini. It's not enough merely to have good intentions. Be deliberate and thorough as you undertake your corrective actions."

I’ve lived in Quickfixville for most of my life. I adore beginning new projects, the more comprehensive, the better. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed my pregnancy so much—so much ritual, so much preparation! And I could still get some sleep.

I love looking at my bulging bookshelves, love pulling down my psychology books and my writing books and my creativity books. I have a sizable collection. And yet...even when I do the exercises, for the most part, I fail to follow through and take the necessary actions that will bring about ACTUAL change. Why is that? Am I in love with the idea of change, but not the change itself? Am I just lazy? Is long term change just not sexy enough for me, and I give up because it’s all just taking too damn long?
This was a somewhat disjointed post—today my desire just to write anything at all was not wed with anything resembling a deep thought.

I send you all delicious coffee (or tea, if you prefer).

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Anonymous fern said...

I'm glad you found a book that you connected with! :)
I have trouble putting ideas I read in books into practice as well, and it's mostly because sometimes I don't find the suggested strategies effective for me, or I just forget!
YAY!!!! I'm so excited that you decided to go for nanowrimo, I know you'll create something fantastic. Keep us updated!

7:58 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Jessie said...

oooh, that coffee looks like coffee that we should have been talking over today. but i look forward to seeing you friday. we'll talk NaNoWriMo then...and anything else, too. :)

i got stir crazy today and went for a bike ride in the rain. it was wonderful. i thought of you and hoped you were enjoying "nap time." and i see by your blog post, that you were. ;)

10:32 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

"It's not enough merely to have good intentions. Be deliberate and thorough as you undertake your corrective actions."

I need to hear that advice about once a month. It's the doing of things that always slows me down. Planning I'm good at, but actually undertaking actions makes me worry.

I relate to your conundrum and for me I don't think that it's laziness, I think that it's fear of judgement. I just don't always feel strong enough to defend myself so I don't start anything new.

6:59 AM, October 19, 2006  
Anonymous beansprout said...

Congratulations on your decision to spend the month of November writing a novel. I think this is great! Great ! Great!

5:51 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Cate said...

Oh, I'm so excited that you're going to do NaNoWriMo! I'm going to try it again, too (my attempt last year was pathetic).

I stop in frequently, relishing your writing. Thank you for sharing these word-lined paths as you make your journey! xo

8:44 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger deirdre said...

I'm so happy that you're doing the novel writing month. I want to jump up and down and yell encouragements to you. Your writing is too beautiful to keep cooped up. Let it fly, sweetie.

10:52 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

the fact that you're doing this has me smiling and applauding.

big hug...brave you.

2:00 AM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger wendy said...

I'm signed up too...but I'm more of a poetry girl...we'll see...could be dicey...

9:18 AM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

I think it is fabulous that you have taken on this challenge. Anything that can carry you with motivation is worth trying.

I loved the flow of that first part about the book you are reading. I really do know the feeling of waiting for my 19 month old to stir from his nap-hoping for a little more time....especially when I am creating something.

I wish I had some experience to share about the writing, but I have never written a long story.

Wishing you lot's of peaceful nap times for writing this month.

6:12 PM, October 21, 2006  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

The idea of writing fiction is so far beyond my's as if someone were to say to me: okay, start doing string theory, wouldj'a? So I commend all of you who are tackling NaNoWriMo. Although I love projects with that sort of community attached to them, that one's beyond my reach. But you go, girl! I'll be cheering you on.

8:01 PM, October 22, 2006  

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