Sunday, July 17, 2016

Writing Out The Storm

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  ~Ray Bradbury
When I find myself too busy to write I can actually feel the creativity start to wane. I love writing. Really, I do. It's the revising I hate. Surgically removing big chunks of writing, inserting new material, moving whole chapters around, changing the ending for crying out loud--it boggles the mind. And when this particular mind is boggled, it tends to travel toward any number of distractions. The longer I wait to dive into my writing the more distanced I become from what once were fresh, perhaps even brilliant, ideas.

A month ago I woke to the dog licking my foot, let her outside, and in my foggy state flung open my mind's door on the way to my desk.  An unseen hand--my own, I think--brewed an espresso and set it on the side table. The keyboard landed in my lap, and my sleepy fingers found home. One by one, the first couple words choked and sputtered, resurrected from the tombs of procrastination. Light found its way into the room as I lifted first one, then the other hand. I took a deep breath and let the words fly .

Since then, six chapters have arisen from the page, propelled by a two-book offer my agent received from a respected editor. I can't announce the details yet because the minutia is still in negotiations but needless to say I am beyond thrilled to know that my coming-of-age novel set in Midwest during the culturally explosive sixties has found a home with a wonderful publisher. The release is scheduled for Spring of 2018. The second book, the one just taking shape in my writing womb, will hopefully emerge as a fully-formed story in time for its release the following year.

From as far back as I remember, words have leaned against my chest like an irritable dog at the back door, growling to be let out before leaking all over the floor. It was a rare day that I didn't spend at least part of it scratching my soul into the pages of various notebooks, journals, or whatever loose scrap of paper was handy when the urge overtook me. Then along came the computer and word processing, neat little letters marching across white paper all self-important and official looking. I wrote like crazy, often backing up to erase thoughts almost before they were fully formed. I filled diskettes, then CD's, hard drives, and finally, my own personal cloud, with a seemingly endless flood of poems, essays, and stories held captive by a heart too timid to give them all the life they deserved. 
And then I published Lost in Transplantation and discovered that taking that first risk, polishing a story and letting the light in, wouldn't kill me. Not only did I survive the writing, editing and publishing process, sharing my story changed my life in innumerable ways. Mostly very good ones. All this to say, thank you. Thank you to those of you who love to read and who buy or borrow books. Thank you to the bookstores who struggle to keep their doors open. Thank you libraries! Thank you to those who take the time to leave authors reviews. Thank you to the successful authors who uplift, encourage and mentor other writers. Thank you to my wonderful partner who reads my work and helps me make it better. And thank you, whoever you are, for celebrating the wonder of words with me today. Where would we be without each other?