Drafting, Messy Kitchens, and the Fragility of Life

I’m working on a new project. I’ve written a summary and created character profiles (after a furious vetting process). I think I even discovered the core of the story.

I went on long walks.

I stared into space.

I daydreamed . . .

Now, the time has come where I need to stop thinking and write my first draft.

I confess, I hate writing a first draft. Planning is all kinds of fun, revision has moments of glory, but the first draft? Well, it’s so dreadful and unknown. I’m awkward, like I’m on a first date not sure of what to do or say. I want my writing to be perfect, but what I see on the page is so far from the beauty I first saw in my mind.

You know what I’m talking about: You envision Rembrandt, but you can’t even manage a proper stick figure.

So, here’s what I do when I have to start a first draft:

I PROCRASTINATE

This needs tidying!

There’s vacuuming to do, baking, organizing drawers, bathtubs to be scrubbed, and, of course, all sorts of day job issues to obsess over and suck up my time.

This past week was particularly stressful with all sorts of real world stuff to distract me—day job dramas, the holidays . . .

This past week I also learned the horrible news of the untimely death of a beautiful and talented young woman. I still can’t quite believe I’ll never see her again.

So, this morning I got up at five and opened a new document.

I wrote.

I know it will not be perfect. I will get stuck, and I will wander away from my desk from time to time to do Absolutely Necessary Chores; however, the story has begun, the characters talk, and things happen. Eventually, I will finish.

This past week’s tragedy is a reminder of the value of each passing hour.

I know how I should be spending my time.

I will write this book.

Onward!

Swan, Swan . . .

Since the sun has been out, and I see signs of daffodils pushing up through the soil, I will go ahead and call it spring. I’m good at creating my own reality.

On a walk on Friday, my husband and I saw trumpeter swans on Cascade Lake.

Hi There!

Such a beautiful morning . . .

As the sun hit the rocks and the sides of trees, steam rose up and slowly evaporated.

  I feel very fortunate to live on such a beautiful island.

This week marks my tenth anniversary of island life.

Sometimes this little rock feels crazy and claustrophobic.

But most of the time this little world feels as vast as the universe.

Possibility

and

Community.

 

I wish you a beautiful early spring.

Christmas Eve

It’s seventy degrees with perfect blue skies. This is far removed from my usual rainy and soggy island.

Driving along Pacific Coast Highway, I spied the mist spray of a whale surfacing in the calm waters.  It’s early for gray whale migration, but I imagine that’s what I saw.

If I believed in omens, I would say this is an omen for good things to come. For I am sure in a fictional world a gray whale would be my familiar.

Or, perhaps I’ve had too much sun today.

I spent the afternoon on Leo Carrillo Beach. With craggy rocks, caves, and tide pools, this beach is probably my favorite of all.

I wish everyone happiness and good things to come for the new year.

>Stars

>I went outside a few minutes ago to latch the garden gate (I don’t want deer dining on my spring plants). I’m always a little surprised to look up and see so many stars. I forget sometimes about the stars–the billions of worlds existing elsewhere. I still remember the first time I learned that the stars in the night sky were suns and galaxies. I started thinking obsessively about other life–something alive watching me from another corner of the sky.

Possibility.

I’ve been busy editing a novel and training for a new job. My days filled with work and obligation. I stop to watch the stars and remember those child thoughts–and remember my imagination.