Monday, June 26, 2006

The Write Weather

June 26, 2006

It's hot, hot, hot outside, but I am comfortably cool! I'm downstairs, hunkered next to the computer, with the tiniest breeze wafting through my office window. It's the right time to write! Okay, I admit it, when our young adult son zoomed by an hour ago to pick up his swim shorts and head for the lake, a little bit of me thought "Why write today? Why not play?" But my Pockets deadline is looming (next Monday-yikes!) and I yearn to get back to working on my book as well. That means hot or cold, this is the Write Weather.

Apply seat to chair and write. Okay, the first draft may not be brilliant. But by golly, by the time I get up this afternoon, the draft will be written. And my side benefit will be, no sunburn.

That said, I'll admit, sometimes in the summer I take my printed-out story draft with me, head for my favorite park, and rewrite at a picnic table. Hmm, sounds like a good plan for tomorrow. I'll bet I can find a nice shady table, with a bit of breeze off the lake. It will be just the Write Weather, I'm sure!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

And A Little Child Shall Lead You

June 15

I've just spent a lovely week with my daughter Deb and our 19 month old grandson, Weston, visiting from Santa Fe. Weston is learning to talk, and it's amazing what he does with his somewhat limited vocabulary. He tells entire stories with just four words. "Ball?" he says to me. Ever the compliant Grandma, I grab the ladybug ball. "Knee," he says, and points to his knee. "The ball hit your knee," I say, remembering the story his mama told me. He nods sadly, blows a kiss and puts it on his knee. "And Mommy kissed it to make it better." He nods again. "Hat," he says, pointing to his head. I smile. "Yes, you were wearing your hat when the ball hit you."

Weston sits back then, the tension relaxes from his body and he smiles. He has told his story and been heard. And he's done an amazing job of it! We have a main character, a problem and a resolution to the problem. (Mommy kissed his knee.) We even have some setting: the hat he was wearing!

Sometimes I think it behooves us in our writing to keep it simple, to look at those basic elements: plot, character, setting, when we get stuck. I just got off the phone, after going over a manuscript edit I did for a client, a wonderful and moving story of a young man struggling with the guilt of his best friend's death, for which he feels responsible. My client is struggling with this very thing: getting back to the basics, getting rid of those extra scenes that don't move the story forward. I consoled him, telling him of my same struggle as I rework yet another revision of my current novel, Finding Nonna--the story of a 12 year-old dealing with her beloved grandmother who has Alzheimer's Disease. So many wonderful scenes have bit the dust as I try to get back to the basics. I think this week as I write, I'll think of Weston, and take my cues from him: "Ball, Knee, Kiss, hat." Sometimes that says it all! Weston may not fully know it yet, but this week he gave me a Sound from his Heart, and I am grateful.