...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan.Three and I'm already procrastinating.

The humbling thing about writing a book you hope will be a good book is that the process will show you how little you know of both yourself and of the world in general.
Knowing myself.  Or not.:
The protagonist.  I find I don't like her as much as I'd like to and it dawns on me, I don't know her very well.  It borders on (read: lives in the middle of) weird to begin to spend time with an imaginary person, never mind that an imaginary French woman has changed my daily life in only positive ways, but  the only way to know someone is to spend time with them, imaginary or not.   Then it dawns on me, I don't want to get that close to her...and it's a fictional character.   So, yeah, intimacy issues. My husband has told me he figured out a while ago that I don't "like physical contact", his term for sitting together on the loveseat together.   Not happy to learn that, and not happy about the character and not happy about going back and doing another pass to tell her story better.
I have no clue about anything. 
The plot.  I'm sort of okay with being clueless and with the plot, or was, until I got to the point i don't want to write so I cam here to post instead.  My justification was, 

The truth is, I need help. I'm about to write about war and I don't want to do it.  I really don't want to do it.  I've done research. I've spent time clinically interview war veterans.  I've watched documentaries where other war vets talk about their experiences. Up to this point, I've been okay, but as I begin to write, I'm in that place.  I'm feeling those things.   They upset me deeply.  Is it the same for other writers? Do you have to suffer to write well?  

       "You can't write a book like that with just your brain."

     It was said of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and it was said to Harper Lee by Pat Dye after he told her she wasn't smart enough to have written that book.    That in no way reflects my opinion of my own writing. I am a mewing wet closed-eyed kitten gasping for every labored breath and I know it, but it does reflect my  commitment to writing from honesty and depth.
   I couldn't find the piece of paper under the stacks and stacks of research on my desk.  Rather than waste time digging so I could make sure my memory was accurate, I used google and found out more about that meeting.  The story is here if you'd like to read it, but what I read will be what made me suck it up and go back to writing.  In its entirety what Dye said was this:
"You know ma'am, you ain't smart enough to write a book like that. Ain't nobody smart enough to write a book like that. To write a book like that you gotta write it with your heart, your soul, your guts, your passion. You can't write a book like that with just your brain."


  1. As someone who also writes, my only advice is to just write and forget the inner editor until you reach the end. Or you'll never make it there. Worry about making it "good" after you've gotten it out.

  2. bless you, runny? I can't call you runny, how about, sweet girl?

  3. Sweet girl is good ;)

    And thank you for your comment on my blog. Truthfully, just asking that helps, but there isn't anything anyone can do but be compassionate when they know someone is hurting. Obviously I can't expect all the pregnant women to go away. That's not fair. None of this is fair.

    What are you writing?

  4. Sweet girl,
    for whatever my will counts towards in the grand scheme of theme, I will you that you have these babies that are already yours, but that you have them to hold in your arms.
    As far as the book, it's a book about art crime and cultural identity .. the protagonist is or will be a recovery specialist by the time the book is finished. If nothing else it's an exercise in writing. I certainly need it.

  5. Thank you--that's very sweet of you.

    The book sounds interesting! Neat concept.


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