Manna – the look on a face at the end of the day. The sated, satisfied, sleepy look of a boy who took every breath of his day at full speed. Or of the person whose every breath went into recovering something they lost. I read two books, I changed countless diapers, I painted, I drew, I …
“I don’t have naked cowboys. I don’t write, draw, sculpt, paint, or photograph naked cowboys. I write, draw, sculpt, paint, and photograph literature, scenery, dragons, houses, and children.” “But no one will flock to your book, sketch, statue, work, or picture unless you lure them in with a naked cowboy. Look …
I’m a detail person by day, in the laboratory where it’s necessary. But in my other life, my real life of writing novels, I create. I can’t be weighed down when a story is churning in my head, with mechanical things or processes that falter or foul up. Those things bog me down, they slow the free-flow thinking process, they turn my novel into something that sounds more like a scientific journal than an engaging slice of life. When I’m in creative mode I expect the details of living to manage themselves. I want my car to start, the washing machine to cycle, my mower to run smoothly – in other words I want the mechanical elements in my life to magically do their job and refrain from distracting my thought flow. So I thank you Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Eli Whitney for allowing me to think creatively. Thank you that I can engage with my characters instead of rubbing two sticks together, chasing down the horse to harness it, or tying the goat to another section of my overgrown lawn. And maybe most of all, thank you, Mr. Crapper, for advancing my plumbing to the state of the art it is today. There would be no Annabelle, Julianne, or Kyle from my book, “Mine to Tell” if I was toting chamber pots to the back forty or kicking a tank of water that wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. Thank you, all other creative geniuses, for allowing me undistracted time to write.
Don’t let the feet propped on the railing fool you. This is phase two of bringing a novel into the world and to fruition – the edits – maybe akin to the last trimester of pregnancy, or the terrible twos, or those teen years where you bang your head against the wall and wonder what you’ve created. Is your art form this way? Do masterpieces spring from you with ease, or is there the occasional C-section? The question of paternity? Or just the exhausted pleasure of knowing you’ve put your all into your progeny and now it’s time to send them forth? The conception of an idea is something I take very seriously. Giving it form and voice and getting it onto my laptop is tedious, but thrilling. Then there is the joyous moment of approval when my publisher says, “Yes!” followed by the knowledge that now the real work begins. Feet on the deck railing. Fine tuning that creation, making it fit for the world while leaving it very much me and my own. Or yours and your own when it’s your art. Go forth and multiply, labor and love.
Dead end ahead? Or a turn in the road? It’s only a dead end if you stop. Keep going, keep creating, keep loving, keep trusting…for me it was keep writing. And when I press forward and find it’s a turn instead of an end…I keep going, keep creating, keep loving, keep trusting…and keep writing.