Monday, July 24, 2006

Romancing The Manuscript

I'm writing a book that's due at my publisher's in two short months and I promised myself I wouldn't do anything but work this morning... but I made a little detour, came here and found you guys had offered so many incredible insights into writing and knitting and the similarities between the two that, well, I just had to take a break and say a few things of my own.

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when something you're creating is just right? It doesn't happen all the time, not with knitting or crocheting or embroidering or writing but if you're lucky, every now and then the yarn, the stitches, the pattern come together--or the words, your fingers on the keyboard, the vision of your story come together and you tumble into a moment of pure Zen.

There's nothing like it.

I remember the first time I was aware of that sensation as part of creativity. It was years back; I was just learning to embroider and I was working on something that was probably too complex for a beginner. I should have stopped but you know how it is. You keep telling yourself 'I can do this' and, of course, all that happens is that it becomes more and more obvious that you can't.

So I kept going.

I grew more and more frustrated, more and more disappointed at what wasn't happening inside my embroidery frame... and then, without warning, the stitches that had evaded me suddenly made sense and the pattern came alive under my hands. To this day, I've no idea why or how it happened. It just did.

There are times I'm writing that are like that. I sit staring at my computer monitor, trying to figure out why a character's eluding me, why a motivation for that character insists on staying just out of reach. And then, for no reason I can ever understand, something happens. I'm tempted to say the world tilts but I don't want to go too far with this. I only know that, all at once, that character, that motivation reveals itself to me.

I tumble into the story and know I've found what is, for me, a moment of pure Zen.


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