Friday, June 6, 2014

The View from My Cave

Summer must have snuck in behind last week's rain. I returned from LJ with a sunburn and a case of lethargy that's given me time to dig into the pile of books waiting to be read on the folding table (there may be some people in the household who are under the impression those books comprise a too-be-shelved pile). Pink-orange ribbons were on sale today, so I've restocked my favorite summer shade and am prepared for a mermaid-themed summer panorama for the shelves beside the fire place.

My brother (the working artist)--henceforward MBTWA, which makes him sound like bank--and I had begun discussing work habits and then meandered into the idea of how one uses art last weekend that reminded me that I've been looking forward to bringing out my soft-sculpture mermaids and associated sea-themed bits & pieces since last year. MBTWA is always good at reminding me that I need be more serious about writing and that I should have a goal and a purpose. He's better than the thousand books on writing piled on the table because he is a vocal advocate of doing the work and a present example of what doing the work actually looks like.

It looks exhausting.

It even sounds exhausting. Sometimes it sounds like ego. Sometimes it looks like self-centeredness. I wonder where he found the self-regard to make those choices--to not give in to the random demands of media and yard work and this-is-how-normal-people-live and just do the freaking work. To assume that you are good enough and let the work come.

There have been times that I've been there. Recently, however, I missed a deadline because I had a draft but never revised it. Instead, I fought with myself about whether I had anything to say, whether what I was saying was relevant, different, needed, kind enough, smart enough, clear enough. In the end, the part of me that decided it was crap won. Much energy went into convincing myself to shut up, but very little went into trying to give the short story any kind of form after that first blob of a draft.

MBTWA believes that there is a novel hiding in my brain. He believes that I'm not going to devour it like an ogre in a cave, digesting the dead remains of the story for years instead of writing it.

I believe that I could easily become the ogre. I'll be hiding behind the pink-orange ribbons, down beside the mermaids.

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