Thursday, September 17, 2015
In a time of a lot of uncertainty, waiting on all matters of things (both personal and professional) to right themselves, I'm feeling at peace inside my own stories. When the freelance work doesn't call, I find myself with pockets of time to lose myself in the real work (a shift in thinking from a time when I thought only the paying work was the real work) of trying to tell a story.
I have to work hard at this. Maybe I can kite-run off with a pretty sentence every now and then but, beyond that, I learn my limits every day. I have to fight to find a plot. I have characters that arc into broken rainbows, no pot of gold at their ends. I struggle to find rhythm. I forget the point I'm trying to make, if I ever had one to begin with.
But I'm learning, every day, to put my faith in the process and recognize that, for me, that process is going to be very messy and long. I used to think I was losing time. I used to think, without a book deal or an agent, I was lost in some writing blackhole, never to find my way out. But, a few weeks ago, I had a nice conversation with a writer who simply said in a voice so mild and zen I thought maybe I'd found God, "What's the rush? It'll happen someday."
What is the rush? I don't know.
So I sit somewhere between the possibility of someday and the reality of now.
The reality of now is, maybe, a little harsher than I'd like. But, in terms of writing, now is a process and 'someday' relies on it. I have wrestled with so many things inside stories, tried to bend characters and plots to my will, let them all go their very-wrong-ways and turned around again and again.
Maybe this is what I love about writing, the practice of it, the mess of it, being in a place where there are a million second chances, a million possibilities for a plot or a person or a relationship. Sara Zarr spoke in her This Creative Life podcast in an interview with John Corey Whaley about a tweet that made her recognize a possible reason she writes to begin with: it may be the only place she has any control at all.
I related to that.
This morning I decided to take two characters and make them one and I laughed, because I had to, because the only place it's possible for that to happen is while writing fiction, or maybe when a twin is absorbed in utero, I don't know (I'll leave that to the science fiction writers). Maybe it's a bad idea. Maybe it's a good one. It's a possibility, at least. And whether it's good or bad - I can live with the consequences. Either I move forward or I try again. While in process, there's always another way to go.
Posted by Melissa Sarno at 5:23 PM
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
|On a run through Brooklyn Bridge Park, I stopped for a sunset|
Even though there are still technical days left of summer, the start of September is always the start of my 'fall'. And fall is when I begin my new year. This September I'll begin a brand new novel that's been edging its way into my heart and mind. I'll confess, these days, there's hardly time to stop and let a a story find its way. But I'm trying to find moments to slow down.
I realize, the lack of time to reflect is what pushes me away from this space. I wake up to my son 'chirping' (as we call it) and there's barely a moment to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I'm immediately thrust into the day, as he squirms up to our bed, and I'm in game of 'catch', to keep little hands away from the lotion on the nightstand, the lamp, the hardcover of a book, or the iPad I've left to close to the edge.
Before I know it we're dressing, and eating, and I'm swiping a cloth against the tray of the high chair, dipping to the floor 1,000 times and back up, filling straw-cups and snack containers, setting off to playgrounds and gardens and pop-up pools. On the two days a week that Little O goes to daycare, the day flies away from me, consumed with freelance work and correspondence. I'd clip the day's wings if I could.
Occasionally, I sorta-stop. For a run in the morning or a podcast on the walk to the grocery store. Three times for a yoga class squeezed between the hours of here or there. I savor the words of books (the latest, Thirteen Ways of Looking by the great Colum McCann. More on this, I hope, soon.) But rarely, a moment to reflect. To look. To take stock.
I'm working on that.
I'm working on coming here, to the blog, to understand where I am. To tell it as it is. To, maybe, snap a photograph, in order to see what I've actually seen. The days are full and rich. I am more content and at peace with my life than I've been in a long time. But, it's nice to step back and see things for what they are or, maybe, more importantly, for what I wish they could be.
I've wondered why I can't let this space go. Many times I made the decision to, simply, walk away. But then I'd think, hold on to the space. Not because of social media platforms or personal brands (neither of which I have.) But because I miss the conversation. The record of an ordinary day. I miss being able to say, this here is a thought I once had, whether it be naive or insightful or too raw to be understood. And I miss someone saying, me too. This September, this year, I'd like to give myself permission to spend more time here.
All I can say is, I'll try.
Posted by Melissa Sarno at 8:00 AM