Sunday, March 18, 2012

In the Meantime

My love affair with Ingrid Schaffenburg's blog continues.  I've kept this post in my inbox for several weeks and I've been reading it every few days.

Lately, I have been blown off my normal writing course by some personal issues. It's been an up and down time. Some fun and some challenges. I've been working very hard at my day job, but also engaging in more play than has been my habit for a very long time. I've had to confront some really scary issues, but  I've discovered I'm strong enough now to deal with things I could not have coped with even a short time ago. My life continues to be in flux, and, more often than not, my little boat is adrift and out-of-control on the Sea of Life. I find that not as frightening as it used to be. I'm learning to quit trying to row. Some days the best I can manage is to hold on and enjoy the ride.

One technique I use to get myself back on track with my writing schedule is to edit one of the stories that I have completed but which has not yet been polished. That gets me back in the habit of sitting in my chair and working on stories. Typically, after working over one of the stories that is "in the tank" (Twain's expression), I am inspired to write something new and try to do even better.

Recently, I pulled out a story I wrote several years ago, but never published because I thought it was too short, and needed to be expanded. Reading it again from the perspective of my current circumstances was a heart-wrenching experience. Instead of expanding it, I ended up cutting it even further, and then dissolving into a half-day crying jag. Turns out that the story was something of a prayer, a last ditch effort of my psyche to craft a vision of a future in which my marriage could survive. The story was my heart saying, "I love you. I need you. Let's go back to where we used to be."

I love the characters, but the novel is still too short and there are a million problems with it. I'd like to try to fix it because it's truly the most from-the-heart stories I've ever written. The problem is that I'm in such a different place now, I don't know if I can do it justice. Time will tell about that. I hope I will be able to rework it someday -- perhaps I will be able to do so, when I'm stronger than I am now and have more perspective on the events of the past few years.

As a counterpoint to that story, I realized that the two novels I have written in the last year and my current WIP are all about making the most of every moment of the meantime -- because that's where I am right now. It's begun to dawn on me that "the meantime" is the only time I'm likely to have, so I need to make the most of it. Now.

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