Moving Past Self-Doubt, Toward Final

Monday, March 1, 2010

I have spoken, often, of this book that I have carried with me through a decade of rework, reconfiguration, enough half faith not to give up on it entirely, but still. Tears have been shed. Papers tossed across the room. Favorite sections and characters hacked out all to preserve: What?

The mood and the flavors and the dust and the flamenco and the carnations thrown from the rooftops of Seville.

I have spoken of this book, and oh, I have fought with it. You want to know where self-doubt lives, in a writer like me? It lives in the books I don't know how to finish, in the sentences that seem marred, in the static of first-person present, in the over-stress of conjunctions.

A few weeks ago, close to what seemed done to me, a very special reader read the book. She encouraged. She had questions. Ever since—through the throes of snow, client work, and a fever—I've been working to find answers, to move through the text one more time, to move through it newly.

I was struggling with rhythms as I made plot changes. I was mourning yet more favorite passages lost. I was intrigued by the introduction of two new characters—brand new and ultimately welcome. Finally, I thought, I was getting somewhere, and this morning, I rose again at that strange, sacred hour, to read the whole book through.

I think I've gotten somewhere.

8 comments:

Mandy said...

I'm so glad to hear that you have found your way back into the novel. So amazing the edits that books go through.

Sherry said...

This post made me think of an early settler breaking it up, plowing, just trying to tame the new land. So much hard work, sweat and tears.

You can win, Beth.

Beth F said...

Savor that sigh of relief.

Lilian Nattel said...

That must be a good feeling, Beth.

simmone said...

I hear you! It never fails to amaze how your opinion of your work can change from day to day ... I bet there's a word for that in latin...
Yesterday I was the mournful writer, today, not so. tomorrow who knows? 'Plod on!'(as my dad would say)

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Congratulations on having the courage to make cuts. Your book may be something you didn't intend but that's okay, right?

Becca said...

This must be such hard work, knowing what to keep and what to cull. I think you must have an ear like a musician, to know just where the dischord lies. But then comes the even harder part - knowing how to fix it so it's harmonious again.

Anna Lefler said...

I had no doubt you would triumph in the end!

XO

A.

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