I do not write because I have been condemned.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yesterday I noted how, to write the novel I am currently writing, I first had to write, then toss 260 pages.  Subsequently I had to write and toss a series of 40-page new beginnings.  Subsequent to that, I had to sit down and cry.  Then I had to shake myself free of the tears and remind myself of this:  I write because I want to.  Not because it pays the bills (it doesn't; my job does that).  Not because I have been condemned.  Not because someone is standing outside my door with a whip saying, Do it better. Do it faster. Do it now.  And if I can't find pleasure in what I am doing with words, then, frankly, I should stop and do something different with my life.

I gave myself a good talking to.  Sometimes Beth Kephart needs it.

I'm in a better place with the novel now (famous last words).  But there are still so many excised words.  The ones below are gone, gone, gone.  Today (nonetheless) I honor the deer:
In the uneven surfaces of the street, the rain had pooled and a low rise of steam was hovering above the gutters.  Becca was headed north under the bypass, on suburban streets, the park now straight ahead.  The log cabins of General Washington’s winter.  The memorial arch.  The cathedral and the graveyard over the rise and fall of hills.  The kids were out with their kites and the deer were up to their knees in the wheat-colored grass, entire herds of them plus a few rove bucks and a baby still wearing its spots. 


Julie P. said...

I can't imagine the pain of having to "toss out" words written from my heart. I feel for you. However, I do believe that things happen for a reason and all of those words and ideas had to come to light to get you to the exact right point in your work.

Serena said...

Wow, tossing out such beautiful words must be tough. I've done it many times...probably too many to count. I finished a novel and now its in rewrite stage...in which half was tossed and I must begin again. I hope that you are at peace with what you have now and continue to enjoy the journey...the love of words at play

Lilian Nattel said...

Beautiful words and I know how hard it is to toss them for the greater good of the story. I felt reconciled to that by setting up space for deleted scenes on my website.

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