Some folks think writing is too hard.
But, writing a novel, or anything with words in it, is easy.
Waiting for the story to arrive is hard.
It’s like holding an open house for a dysfunctional crowd who arrive at different times with varying intensities, conflicting purposes, all talking at once, nobody really listening. Characters, plot, setting, theme, point of view, conflict, resolution, pace, flow, style, plausibility move randomly, sometimes crowding each other, either jostling for attention or shyly withdrawn.
Story arrives in its own time. It gentles the crowd. It’s worth the wait.
Lately, my husband’s and my car has been spending more time alone, what with pandemic impact, more work-at-home, high cost of petrol.
Lonesome status also was true of our family car in the 1960s, what with Dad’s belief a car ride was an occasion. This mandated a purpose and a plan, neither of which my two brothers and I were adept at providing.
Dad made it clear the Pontiac grand prix did not gad about to relieve boredom, thrill us with speed, impress friends, or traverse terrain our feet could navigate.
We became reasonably content just to HAVE a car, should the need for a ride manifest itself.
Lately, I often feel likewise.
Where did Mom get her buttons?
Years after her passing, it’s no mystery to my two brothers and me about their systemic storage: 59 bags organized by color, size, value. She did likewise with vegetable cans, kid-art, Dad’s handkerchiefs.
No mystery about WHY Mom saved buttons. She knew scarcity. She was 6 years old when the stock market bellied up and the not-so-great Depression commenced. She was 18 years old when almost all young men went away to war, and 33 years old when her three children scoured Sears Roebuck & Co.’s Christmas Wish Book, developing inflated expectations.
But where did thousands of buttons come from? Family clothing was a dwindling resource. Mom was too proud to beg, too frugal to buy, too busy to scavenge, too Roman Catholic to steal.
The “not-good-enough” pest hinders all writers. But, though not every sentence will be brilliant, every word is imbued with potential power.
Save snippets. Jot them. Allow them to breathe.
Gather enough grains and you will have a beach.
Okay. That last sentence is NOT brilliant.
Any sport offers a chance to win. Some folks bet on the outcome to win money. Some cheer for their favorite to win shared elation Some play a sport to become the best they can be.
Those who wager put money on the line. Those who cheer put emotions on the line. Those who play put themselves on the line.
Only one of these endeavors guarantees triumph.
Tonight Chicago’s Women’s National Basketball team, SKY, competes with Connecticut SUN. The victor will move to the finals to play Las Vegas ACES for the national championship.
The players win, regardless of outcome.
A nice gent I know told me, “I won’t read your latest novel, Snag the Moon. It’s contemporary fiction. I like to read sci-fi fantasy.”
This is very good, mostly. He doesn’t care about best seller lists or classics or must-reads for course credit or five star rankings. He doesn’t critique, discuss, review, or judge. He likes to read what he likes to read. His joy is his own.
This is very good, mostly for him, and the authors of sci-fi fantasy of course.
There are some geographically challenged who can get lost looking for milk in the refrigerator. For us (them), the global positioning system is reason enough to buy a car.
A trip that jaunts from start to finish without dissolving into wrong turns, missed exits, and out-of-character ranting, is to be cherished, when it happens.
To date, it has not. It is not the fault of the technology, which has a voice that sounds human and demeanor that is beatified: no judgment, no sighing, no eyebrow raising.
The trouble is the geographically challenged driver can’t seem to follow directions, which is why we (them) are geographically challenged in the first place.
During the 1960s, toys my two brothers and I played with did not talk. We imbued them with speech, imagining ourselves as brave, smart, funny and wonderful. We made-believe. Our toys went along with this plan.
Today my grandbabies play with stuffed animals, chairs, dinosaurs, superheroes, maps, soccer balls that speak on their own, in high-pitched and cheery voices. They have a singular topic of conversation: learning. My grandbabies go along with this plan.
Make-believe is a nice way to decide what you want to learn.
Today, toys already have decided what you want to learn. That is good, too; but sometimes I wish they would…you know, just shut up.