Dare Mighty Things

On a visit to JPL last year, I saw this sign in a building:

 

1620721_10204610843612551_5022080800203955897_n (1)

 

I’m not a scientist, not even close. I am in awe of all things inventive and new about science. I love the realm of possibility.

 

Dare Mighty Things doesn’t even make sense exactly. I mean, how do you dare a thing? Yet, that’s one of the reasons why I like the sign so much.

 

My sons and other members of my family have science brains. They can wrap their heads around abstract possibility, force, nature, numbers. I stand back and nod in awe.

Innovation leads to success,

Yet, failure is also a huge part of innovation.

Daring means things go wrong too. Mighty doesn’t happen unless we take risks

I think pretty much everything Elon Musk does is amazing, yet even with an innovative company like Space X, failure happens.

I cannot create an alternative fueled spaceship or navigate rovers on planets, but I can write.

The past few years I’ve had my own version of spectacular rockets blowing up.

Years of work on novels end in fiery ruin.

I stare at the pieces and start over,

Do it again

And again

And again.

 

Sometimes, it gets hard,

Painfully, wretchedly hard.

But what other choice do I have?

 

I have to create.

I have to write.

I cannot stop.

 

When I face that blank screen, the possibilities swarm through my brain.

DARE MIGHTY THINGS
My own version of space travel starts when my fingers hit the keyboard.

To possibility and beyond! 

 

 

 

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!

Tapping on the Keyboard

For Poetry Month, I decided to share a poem about writing.

My apologies to Edgar Allen Poe for using the “tapping.” (Please don’t send a raven to my door).

 

Raven

 

 

Tapping on the keyboard

Hitting keys to communicate

Discard three hundred words for one

Still Not Happy

 

I lock myself in my room

Labeled antisocial, unconnected, overworked–

Disgusted with the letters I see on the page

Dreaming of the perfect words,

If only the connection could release like fire bolts from fingertips

Something magical

Superpowers!

 

Language sets me free

Imprisons me

Angers me

Excites me

Words worry me

 

Seeking escape

I must act

Make the connection

 

Tapping, tapping, tapping

for something worthwhile.

 

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.

Milestones

A sunset from Malibu.

The end of the year, and the start of a new one.

The end of one story, and the start of a new one.

Yesterday I completed revising and editing my novel, Never Fall.

The revision process for this particular manuscript felt like an epic journey of sorts, so I felt like celebrating a little. At the very least, I could give myself a pat on the back.

I finished another story.

Well, not quite. For I’m sure more editing and revising will follow.

The process isn’t quite done yet.

Still, I consider my work a milestone. I finished.

On to the next project . . .

Recently, while perusing in-flight television, I happened upon an interview with the director for the film The Artist.

I haven’t yet seen the film, but Michel Hazanavicius captivated me with his passion and commitment to the artistic process.  He emphasized the value of the story and considers this the heart and magic of what captivates us.

I agree.

Story.

The story keeps me falling in love over and over again with the the process of writing.

Today, I embark upon another journey. A new story.

I hope this year will bring you many new stories and milestones.

Happy 2012