Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Early Work

If I were a caterpillar, my name would be Tayloo and I would throw fabulous caterpillar parties with lots of balloons. At least, according to my six-year-old imagination.

This is one of my very first pieces, which I wrote when I was in kindergarten.

I was a sassy six.

Then, I wrote for the joy of writing. Creation. Always the artist. Whether my work would find an audience – it was never a question. Now, I write for that, and because I want to change people’s lives. I want to touch people, to be that story that threw a lightning bolt through your gut, the book that made you laugh aloud, forgetting you sat in a coffee shop, and you were unabashed when people turned to look, the one that made you cry, and pass it on for how it moved you might move your sister, or your father, or your best friend. The thing that allowed you to see the other side of someone’s story, and so you could forgive, or the one that brought you closer to someone you thought you’d lost. The one that gave you courage to do something you thought you couldn’t, or gave you insight into yourself that brought you peace, or spurred you to change.

I have always been a writer. I have been creating stories from the moment I could. I write to touch people. To change lives.
These are not original statements, but they are true.

Draft 3...This Novel Will End

As for the writing itself, I’m chugging along. Submitting to groups and revising, moving steadily through Draft 3. Discussing with my mentor the kinds of details I could use to lodge my characters in my readers’ memories, how to rid my story of excessive flashbacks, how to incorporate strange language. He suggested I write his fiancĂ©e, who has published several historical fiction novels, and often uses anachronistic terms. Her advice was useful. I most appreciated her comments:

I'm sure you probably feel like the book will never be finished, at this point. :)  But it will be finished, and you'll feel indescribably elated.

Like it will never end is exactly how I feel. After this draft will be another and another, and so on and so on. I am so glad to have this assurance, from someone who has been through this several times, and who just had her most recent novel picked up by a leading publisher in her genre.
As always, rather than worrying, what there is for me to do is focus on the work itself.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holidays 2011

For Christmas and Chanukah, I received several books, which I am very excited to read! The holidays have been crazy. I spent three days cleaning, preparing the house for guests, and then the family arrived – grandmother, aunts, uncle, four boy cousins ages 8, 5, and twin almost-2’s.
            In the madness, I still made time to write.
            One evening during dinner, I had a brief conversation that went like this:

Aunt: When are you getting up? Are you writing every day?
Me: I could skip for Christmas. It’s one day.
Uncle: But if you skip one day…

A writer himself, among other things, my uncle knows how easily one day can become two, or three, and so on. And how hard it can be to start back up again, once you break your rhythm.
My family worked around me, allowing me to keep my vacation schedule: sleep late, write. They got the kids out of the house in the morning, and we all met up around lunchtime.
A friend of mine, home for the holidays, has a family full of doctors. He got lecture after lecture about the things he should be doing right now. How he should be spending his time, the way he should be focusing, the classes he should take. He wants to be an artist.
Families – so full of love and joy and togetherness around the holidays, also come with pressure and stress. I am so lucky to have the love and support of mine. I’m grateful for this gift.