Thursday, June 9, 2011

Postponing the inevitable

It was helpful for someone to tell me that James Michener wrote 19 drafts of Hawaii before getting it right, and even then I find him too wordy, though I should tell you at the start, there is no book of his that I have not read, never mind the wordiness. He was a deft and skillful story teller.When I read Chesapeake, a geographical area I'm fully familiar with, I fell off my chair laughing at the guys in the duck blind. For me there is no more tedious,disarming and dedicated character than Hoopoe in The Source. Jump past some of today's new writing and slip back to Michener for a really good read.

I'm currently reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. This is the fourth time in my life I have read it and still find her ability to put me in the middle of really current problems compelling and absorbing, so much so that my shelf full of ereading goes begging, and I must find relief from her in other, lighter writers. Currently, I'm at page 594. Only about the same left to go!

Why does that matter to me? Wellll, I'm dragging my feet about starting over, continuing to whack. Truth to tell, I remain enamored of my own prose, refusing the internal editor who tells me I should know better, must know better, and to surrender what needs to be given up for the greater good of the words that remain. It helps to read other authors and teachers who share the same angst, working to find the true book within all that paper-talk. I know there lies my reward, if I can just bear the work of the knife. Er, pen. It's all too easy to find a thousand different legitimate reasons to not get to it. So I will ignore the bright sunshine beyond my window, forgo the afternoon wine on the porch, order in and skip the fine art of grilling on my deck, and begin the surgery, hoping to get beyond hacking and whacking to honing and freeing to find the thing my heart is saying buried way too deeply in the Michener-esque enormity of size that is my manscript.

Which brings me to confess that, while brand new at this blogging, it is already an addiction that I hope will abate to something more manageable....there are not enough hours in the day!...and I pray to shake loose this all too easy tool for procrastination.

By the way, I shall reiterate, often, the joys and challenges of online class writing and encourage anyone who is reading anyone reading me? join up if you write. And surely you write. Trading thoughts, ideas, helpful responses, especially if you're working under someone as gifted at direction and encouragement as Sheila Bender at Writing It Real, are wonderful tools at shaping, developing and executing really good prose. Writing with others is guaranteed to improve your own good stuff!


  1. Hi Barbie,
    You and I must be on the same wavelength because I was just thinking about writing a blog post about the revision process. I actually started revising one of my essays from Sheila's class yesterday, and to my surprise, it is going well; I'm even having fun with it, and I like the changes. I don't know why it sometimes seems like this impossible feat. I have to remind myself, I know how to edit, and I can get even better at it, and in the end, I'll be so much happier with the result. So, keep at it, girl!!! I'm finding it's not so bad once I'm in the thick of it, and the revision can be--in some ways--every bit as creative--maybe sometimes even more so--than the original writing.

    All the best, Barbie!

    Lisa -

  2. Hi Barbie -- this is a rest. CONGRATS!! Go Girl!!

  3. Yes, as discussed on my blog, I am a fellow addict :)
    Cheers to harnessing the beast!!