Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Wind

The wind in April has blown as much as the winds of March, I fear.

Today the sky is blue with clouds blowing by. Puffy white clouds that hold no promise of rain and no semblance of shadow. It is a bit cool to be outside and the breeze bothers my ear terribly anyway.

The wind is blowing in gray for me and I am puzzled as to why.

I think I should figure this out, and so I sit and ponder. All I find in my head is the word "lost," as in, that is how I feel. Lost.

I have projects aplenty, things I can do. Lord knows I have drawers and cabinets to clean out and organize. Housework is never finished; the dust settles back as soon as the cloth passes over so I could spend all day simply waxing and shining, if I thought wax and shine were the end all unto themselves.

Alas, my inclination is toward "clean enough" and semi-neat, but not sparkling and pristine. We live in our house, my husband likes to say as he trudges through the kitchen with mud on his boots.

There is, of course, that idea, that dream, that urge and penchant, that desire to write a book that seems to be only a desire and not something I can put into motion. I have suffered through several false starts this week and have nothing to show for it but deleted files on the computer.

Well, that is not quite true. I created a 3-ring notebook for my work, one with nice little dividers that say "character" and "plot" and "research" and "situation" and "themes" and things of that nature. It has the name of my main character in it but little else. It sits on my desk, solid and real.

I also have reviewed notes on how to write character, how to find plot, how to write. It feels like starting all over even though I am a seasoned writer with thousands upon thousands of published words behind me, a list of articles so long that it literally would take sheets of paper to list them all, were I so inclined.

Sometimes I wonder if I am in love with being a writer, not writing. This cannot be, I think, for I love to write when it is flowing, when the story is hot, when the things being said are important, real, relevant. I love the puzzle of it, the seeking out of the proper word for the moment, the nuance that brings the detail to the mind. Am I so wounded, so sore and raw, that I simply cannot do it right now?

My dreams of writing were never so grand as the Great American Novel. I wanted to write Nancy Drew books. I think I still want to write Nancy Drew books, or something very like Nancy Drew books, only not for children. Because I have no children, I feel unable to relate to the youth of today. When I watch my nephews or my niece, or the offspring of friends, they move nimbly about, their fingers always working with the text on a phone, their bright little minds moving quickly while they multitask. They look at me as if I am old.

Am I old?

The expectations of me (from whence these come I am not certain, myself, perhaps?) have always been beyond Nancy Drew books. Beyond the Great American Novel, even. Maybe something along the lines of Jane Smiley, perhaps, or Anita Shreve, whose work I have been reading and greatly admire. I enjoy reading those books. But I also enjoy fantasy, science fiction, some mysteries (but not all), Gothic romances (another genre I've always thought to write in, but who publishes that in this day and age?), young adult fantasy books (Tamara Pierce), nonfiction such as self-help, history, and biographies, historical fiction, adventure, etc. etc. The only books I do not like to read are vampire books (Buffy the Vampire Slayer being the only exception), gory books (Patricia Cornwell comes to mind), horror (Steven King, though I have read him on occasion), and overtly sexual books (having read absolutely none of these I cannot name an author).

Today I renounce my perfectionism.

Is it this which holds me back? Is it my fear that whatever I put forth will be less somehow? Or is it that will include more of me than I care to allow.

I grew up in an atmosphere that did not allow mistakes. If I was not perfect, whatever that was, I was punished. But I could not attain that goal no matter how hard I tried. I am only human.

Only human. Am I trying to be something other than what I am? Do I even know who I am anymore? Have I ever?

Is this my revelation, blown in with the gray?

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Renounce perfectionism. It is what Natalie Goldberg advises, in her wonderful "Writing Down the Bones". Shake off that western, protestant, critical mindset that loves to tear down and be hard on people. Pick up your pen and let the writing flow as it will.

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