Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mish Mash Thoughts on a Saturday Night

It's 10:15 on a beautiful night and I have been writing most of the day. And yesterday too. I missed my deadline to complete my 200 page manuscript by June 30th and even with this extension I will not have more than 25 pages to share with the four women who along with me are writing a book length book. There are five of us, counting me, and we began writing together two years ago. We meet every eight weeks or so and we write and send out 30 pages at a time for review and feedback when we meet on one Saturday for the day, lunch included.

The instructor has so much enthusiasm and writing knowledge that I am so lucky to have her guidance and encouragement. Among the other women, one has written a magnificent story about her grandfather and his brother who won an Alaskan goldmine in a poker game in the mid 1800's. She started off writing her grandfather's story in Alaska but it has also become her story, so it spans a hundred years or more.

Another woman is writing about her dysfunctional family and what it meant to a ten year old child when her father walked out of the family and a compassionate priest helped her find her strength.

The third woman, who is struggling with her own permission to find her words, writes about her son's cancer and the dissolution of her marriage.

JB asked me today what my book is about. I don't know how to answer that, yet. I think it is about love and betrayal and transformation and redemption. It is about one relationship that is enduring and steady and another that is dysfunctional and passionate and it is about a journey to let the heart break open but not the seams.

As of now I have completed nine chapters and 30 pages. I have another 200 plus pages in draft form, some just dialogue, some story snippets, some quotations and letters and some efforts at penance and some hateful harmful words.

It's my job to tie all of this together into a coherent compelling story that somehow transforms not just the characters but the reader.

I told a friend last night that I know I am not a great writer but I love the process of trying to be a good writer. Right now I am sitting in my new breezy porch with all the giant sliding windows open. It is jet black outside and I can see a corner of light in JB's Magic Cottage, where working her own magic. My dog Stella is restlessly on the floor in front of me; she is not well much of the time but this week she has told us clearly that she wants to be here and we will help her do that as comfortably as she can be.

In writing this my second novel, which is a novel with some parts relived and some parts made up, some of the past five years has been stirred up and not all of it is good. I still don't know how my book will end. Really, I have no idea. My writing teacher, who has seen several drafts already, advises me to assure the reader early on that the character Casey will be okay. I wish I could do that, and I probably can. But I have feeling Casey wants more than just 'okay'. And why shouldn't she?

It is now 10:40. I am half way through four days that I can devote primarily to writing this book. I have weeded the garden, visited my Mom, gone out with JB shopping and eating. But I have time to write this weekend. Tomorrow I will let go of 25 pages and send them off to my writing group in near final form, off for them to read and respond. What a gift.

There are moments now when I feel contentment taking root. Maybe you don't know I've had a hell of a few years: loss, betrayal, vilification, unforeseen shock through all of it. I still believe I am learning a lesson that is not yet clear to me. But I still believe.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for coming by.




  1. I enjoyed reading your process of writing, your working on, your second novel. A part of me wants to say sorry you had to endure the pain you went through, and I am...but another part knows that you are using that pain to create good art in writing. Life has a way of letting us work through the hard parts in ways that help heal. This seems to be such a healing process for you. thanks for sharing. I hope I get to read the book one day.

  2. Loved reading this :)
    About how your new book is taking a shape and how the process works.....
    I know it will be a good book, I just know.
    And a lot of creating took already place, the sketch is there.It will be good putting all in a row to organize thoughts and feelings as well.
    After a very busy week. Today I have little on my agenda, so I will enjoy just doing not so much....

    Have a wonderful day filled with inspiration.


  3. I think we continue to learn lessons whether we're high or low. Let's face it, the older we get, the less we know and when that thirst for knowing ends . . we might as well end too. I'm glad you're reaching a level of contentment, it has been a hard climb kj but you know, all good things come, sometimes just for a while but they do come.

  4. Yay! Glad you got some serious writing done and it sounds like you're getting on a roll now.
    And yes, Casey should want more than *okay*~~~I'm thinking *happy and content*. Just sayin' basically, most of us deserve that and we usually have to go through hell to get to it. That is what I have found the lesson is for me; on the other side of all the yuck, there is happiness and wisdom, and they arrive in their time, not mine.
    You go girl!
    I am sure it will be a great read!


  5. its a blessing to have this four days to write and contemplate and observe the processes taking place as you work through the many layers of being to create your book.

    i have never known how to answer the question: what is your book about? how to reduce something so complex to a few words, though i know one is supposed to do so to "pitch" ones work. LOL.

    you are blessed too to have this writing group. sounds like a great bunch of people. good luck as you continue onward. i admire your persistence. Hugs, Suki

  6. I can relate to one hell of a year.
    But I think it makes us deeper and more soulful human beings, don't you? Good luck with the book, I know how hard writing is, it takes a lot of work!
    Please kiss and hug Stella for me.

  7. My true deep-down gut feeling is Casey will be okay.

    Just sayin';)

    Thank goodness for your writing group.I really should join some type of art group just for therapy!

    Kiss Ms. Stella for me. She's one heck of a gal that one.♥


  8. i love that your loving the process. i think that is the secret to happyness.

    writing is a mystery to me, but somehow i think that if you write from the heart, it will be read with the heart too.

    to the journey! (raising my glass to you right now!)


  9. I know. And I find for myself that contentment with the process of healing waxes and wanes. I'm glad you are in a good place with it. ♥

  10. Oh, I want Casey to be more than ok, as well. I love how you feel the tendrils of contentment arriving at times.

    I'm so glad you have a group which encourages you to write 30 pages before your next meeting. I think that may be the only way I could write an entire book. I have five different books halfway written...and each time, I lose interest, I think because I've figured the whole thing out by the time I get half way through. It becomes kind of boring to me then, heh!

    And sometimes, too, it is just too difficult facing something in the past to continue...xx

  11. "a heart breaking open, but not the seams"
    If the book is full of meaningful lines such as this, how could it be less than great?

    Casey may end up with 'only okay',,,but lots of times that's okay too, and we're fortunate to get that much.
    So glad you're having the time to write,,,,,sometimes we have to just make the time.

  12. lynn, i acknowledge the learning part and even the healing part but given a choice i'd be taking an easier road :^)

    marianne, wishing you wonderful time. thank you alwsys for your encouragement ♥

    hells, ahahaha, you are so right: the older we get, the less we know! which in some crazy way makes us wiser!!! xoxo

    thank you anne ♥ it is an act of love to write...

    suki, this writing group is a gem. and manoman, what they have read and heard me write!!!!

    annie, see my comment to lynn. i'm resisting looking for the bright side of sadness. it is what it is and i do what i do... xoxo

    lo, you would thrive in an art group and everyone would love you.

    lori, so much of my writing is from instinct, but like knitting and photography i'm learning the skill of it too. and none too soon! ♥

  13. cs, so surprises me that i can't shake a bad scene :^(

    marion, you are such a good writer, and a wise writer. i smiled at your use of the word tendrils. i am going to tuck that word in my book :^) about the past, it changes, doesn't it? who knew? :^)

    oh babs, that was my favorite line in this post! i liked the play on seams and seems. thank you for noticing that. it says alot about you and i so love that about you.
    casey wants more than okay. i know her well enough to know that....♥

  14. Kj, you misunderstood my comment. I am embracing the sadness, not pushing it away :-). I am letting sadness be okay. xoxo