Friday, April 29, 2011

A hunk of granite

Some writing days are hard.  Like today.  I brought my boys to school (which was...well, interesting, although my students loved it), decorated a door for a graduation (congrats, Mel!), graded two argument essays, and wrote.  But I didn't write anything all that good.  I want my first draft to be funny and beautiful and fluid, with quirky characters and poignant scenes.

It's not happening yet.

I know it will happen eventually.  I love rewriting, because then I can cut all the bad stuff and add all the humor and the magic.  I can get to know the characters I love.  I enjoy what Jeff Hirsch said on his blog--writing's kind of like sculpting, and that first draft is the hunk of granite you can carve away at later, revealing something beautiful and Michelangelo-ish inside.

But right now I don't have something like this:

I love Rodin

Or even this:

Unfinished, but still amazing!

 No.  Right now I have this:

Whee.  A quarry.  It's dangerous and confused and full of heavy hunks of rock.
On days like today, when I step back and see the mess and feel upset, I need to remember: it'll be okay.  Eventually I'll get out of the jumble and slag, and I'll get to carving.

I'm grateful for geniuses like Rodin and Michelangelo and Shakespeare--they show me what human creativity can accomplish, even if what I do is nearer to the level of my son Ninja's homemade jokes than to a Spenserian sonnet.

(Speaking of jokes, here's a sample from today...

Ninja: Mommy, why am I afraid of snow?
Me (confused, because he's acting scared, his eyes wide, his frown big): Why are you?  It's soft and fluffy.  You always liked it before.
Ninja (pausing): Snow eats me!
Me (truly confused): What?
Ninja (now he's grinning):  It's a funny joke.  I'm kidding!  You should not believe me.  Silly mommy.

Silly mommy indeed.)

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