Oh my head, she hurts. Have any of you other writers ever suddenly come to a realization that you're not actually smart enough to do what you're trying to do? Do important thoughts and bits of story keep falling right out of your head like it is a just a big. . . um, a big thing filled with holes? (See? I just started a sentence that I wasn't smart enough to finish!) Well. I feel like that. A lot. I saw something recently at Sara Lewis Holmes's blog: "Our writing should be smarter than we are." I'd never thought of it quite like that before, but I think it is the striving for that that makes my brain feel like a little lentil rattling around inside a calabash. Maybe a calabash like one of these:
I feel like, creatively, I am always trying to do something beyond my skill. With illustration, for example, I labor over drawings for days, reworking them and reworking them, until they were as good as I could possibly make them, and hopefully better than I thought I could make them. Then I would proceed to painting. It's rewarding after the fact, but it isn't joyous, like the spontaneous bursts of creation that sometimes catch one unaware and are just FUN. Well, writing Silksinger has largely felt like that. Filled with striving and pushing, making it better and better, hopefully better than the outer limit of my capacity even. But. Not always fun.
Here's a quote I love:
"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."
Yes! Me, me, me. You? Anyone? Oh, I mean, there are times of joy, but often it is been a case of "I don't love writing. I love having written." The joy comes after, when the lentil is allowed finally to come to an exhausted halt in the bottom of the calabash and just. . . lie there. You know, like the wee, pathetic lentil that it is.
I'm having great eager yearnings toward a little fun writing, after this draft is done. There's been a "fun" idea drifting idly in my brain for a while, and yesterday, while I was in the shower, something happened that fellow writers will know about: it collided with another idea. And in about five minutes, those two ideas fell in love, got married, and had a whole brood of idea babies, which they presented to me proudly and said, with big beaming grins on their little idea faces: "Here we are, all ready. Now, write us!"
And I want to. So much. This sweet little notion promises fun that my lentil can handle. But. Honestly. I know myself. I could take Jack and Jill and turn it into an epic with interweaving storylines, and then decide I need to learn ancient Greek in order to do it justice, and that it needs to be told alternately from the perspective of the hill and the pail. In five volumes. You know. I just can't help it. Blame it on the lentil. It strives.
Here's a link, by the way, to a good post at one of my daily reads, Justine Larbalestier. This one is on how good and bad writing days affect our mood and mental state. Oh no, not at all, she says in a small voice.
For instance, for the last couple of days, I reworked a section of the book. Intensely, with great concentration and some pulling of pink hair. And then, I was forced to admit that it had been better before. And to undo it. But I had wrought such changes I couldn't just go back to the old version. I had to unweave the new stuff from the text, like, um, getting gum out of hair. I do that a lot. I meddle with my books. Sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. Pointless, pointless evil. And it plunged me into such a black, black mood last night. I'm better now though. I woke up this morning and cleared away the last of the evil. For now.
I am aching for sunshine and summer, not just the little splash of it on the floor of my writing room, but real sunshine and summer. Hikes. I greatly need hikes, and to freeze my feet in snowmelt waterfall pools, and see a snake slip across a path, and smell trees. Soon, self. Soon.