Friday, May 22, 2009

welcome to magicland

There is something so wonderful about writing the first draft part of a new novel. It's like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.  So far, all the characters are intensely interesting to me, the setting is breathing, and I feel so completely happy you could tie me up with the ribbon and give me away for Christmas.  I had to stop to do my copyedits for Breathe, which were hard not just because I had to really focus and make sure everything was the way I wanted, but because I had to re-enter that story-world--and that is like seeing an old lover again and still feeling in love but also knowing that truly,  you have to move on.

Writers are very lucky people, I think.  I wanted to be a writer since I was in first grade, and I remember when I sold my first short story, to the Michigan Quarterly Review, I got myself a T-shirt that said WRITER on it, cut out the neck (that's what you do in ballet class) and wore it to the studio all that year. I was so proud and excited!  (No one really cared.  They all wanted to be dancers.) But I cared, and every pirouette I made (I admit I could do four!  Count them!  Four!) I felt more like a writer than a dancer, and I swear that made me spin.

Now, I can't do more than one sloppy pirouette and my toe shoes are a thing of the past.  But put me in front of a computer or a piece of paper, and I feel as if I'm home.


Jeff Lyons said...


Yeah... for all the bitching and complaining we do about how hard it is, how frustrating it is, how lonely it can be ... we are lucky motherduckers and that's the truth.

I love "motherduckers." I heard it on a bad dub of the first Die Hard movie when they dubbed over Bruce Willis as he said his first "Yippie-eye-o kaiyay motherduckers..."

A writer had to write that dub line... and they got paid for it. We are so lucky to be us!

J :)

Unknown said...

That's such a beautiful way of talking about the first draft. I agree. It really is like new love. You nailed the analogy about the revisions phase as well. Old lover where you have to let go. I'm revising before my agent sells. I just signed with her two months ago and we've been working like crazy on my book. I hope we'll be finished soon! I want a new lover! lol. :-)


Clea Simon said...

Oh yay! I am finishing up a project, revising, readying it to send, and I'm on the other end of the cycle: dried up, tired, pretty damn sure I'll never write another sentence that doesn't begin "To whom it may concern" again. So to hear this is like hearing the sound of fresh water off in the distance!