Sunday, June 20, 2010

Testify (got a song, gone sing it, if you know the words, feel free)

I'm not sure when last I posted, so that probably means something. I have been writing though; I'm getting some traction in the novel and it's gaining momentum. Yesterday, I revised my latest short story a bit more and sent it off. The automated email told me it could take up to 10 weeks to get a reply. So, more waiting. And I'm not complaining (much), because you never want the reply to come back too soon. Sending something off on a Monday and getting a rejection by that next Tuesday is an indication of more negative things than positive ones. So, more finger-crossing, which is to say, putting it out of my mind and setting my sights on the next idea to put to paper.

A couple weeks ago, when I set out to start this next novel, I posted on facebook that I was "climbing another mountain." This past week I realized how wrong I was about that. Metaphorically speaking, the act of writing a novel, for me at least, is less like climbing a mountain and more like climbing down from those same peaks. I've always been a little philosophical (okay, maybe more than a little) but to expand on this point I'm going to have to get a little religious.

You remember Moses, right? Okay.

Having an idea for a lot of artist is analogous to something divine. Light shines on the artist's forehead and their eyes light up, maybe get a little watery. And then they have it, and all the struggle and strife comes from trying to give it to other people, their audience as well as any random traveler that may stumble upon it. And it's a treacherous climb, made only that much more difficult because of one's precious cargo. There are snares and pits like context and perspective and timing along the way, and strangers who might be friends, or might not be along the journey. And one of the biggest problems is that we become extremely protective of something that we, ironically, mean to give away.

And for me, at least, it's most difficult at the beginning: learning to walk with the added weight, around and over and under things with the cumbersome items I'm carrying. But once I know not only where to step but how, it's almost as if that knowledge makes the land flatten out and the temperature become hospitable. I can see farther and travel faster, and I typically find myself comfortable enough to smile about it.

So, the principle, I guess, is looking at the same things in different ways. I learned that it applies to just about everything, even food. In the past week, I had Ethiopian and Greek food, and even finished my second guest blog, . Some of these items were better than others, but the key, I was told by an artist friend, is that I was trying new things at all. In any event, I'm in a better place, and am thankful for that.

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