Thursday, January 31, 2013
Back to earth with a thud
I've always loved Little Bear (as drawn by Maurice Sendak)
imagining himself flying to the moon and telling his mother all about his plans.
And I also love his mother, in the words of Else Minarik, replying that maybe he is "a fat little bear cub" and "will come down very fast, with a big plop."
I've landed with a big thud: my book is off to its first readers and I'm back in the world of doing my freelance work and getting my taxes done and cleaning my house, those kinds of things. Being OUT OF that world and in another of one's own creation is part of the fun of writing.
But this book reminded me of the other things I love about writing -- things I haven't felt in a long, long time. When I revise, I can just do it -- and for long hours at a stretch; it's very satisfying to be so engrossed and to see something get better. The first draft is usually torture, though: all the waiting, all the times when nothing comes or what does seems (and may well be) completely inadequate. This time, though, sometimes what I wrote in the first draft surprised me and made me laugh out loud, and that was fun, too.
One difference between a book that has life and potential and one that doesn't are those surprises, those ideas that just come....but those moments don't mean the book as a whole is GOOD or even works.
What I enjoyed most, though, was being IN the book: not wanting to do anything else. Not thinking about anything else. Waking up in the morning and wanting to write -- even though it usually took a lot of dawdling before that happened.
This is the first book I've really enjoyed writing in a long, long time -- and whether it all holds together or not (my biggest worry), whatever my first readers say about it, I've had that -- and learned a lot, too, about how to make it happen.