Saturday, 2 July 2011

The rose

Sunny, gorgeous day - temps 30

Stunning day - sunny and hot. Went for a swim in the pool for the first time. Blissful. Breakfast outside, then back onto the screen porch to start the second draft of book 8.

Terrifying. tossed and turned last night - as per usual before starting the first edit. My big fear is that I'll start reading the first draft and realize it sucks. Now, I have to say, I sort of expect parts of it to stink...but not the whole thing.

As those of you who have read the blog for a while know, my approach to the first draft is to get the 'critic' away from the keyboard, preferably out of the room and out of ear-shot....and just write. Have fun with it. Take risks. Follow unlikely avenues and see where they lead. Just fly and soar and feel and throw it all in there.

At the end of the first draft I have a pile of words and - with luck - a story is in there. And more.

Then I take some time off, to recover and detach - and enjoy life. then I get back to it. And yesterday was the 'get back to it' day.

the only thing is, the critic has been cooling her heels for six months now. Biding her time. thinking up and storing up insults. And now, the door opens and she's allowed back in.

The trick, at this stage, is to make sure it's the critic in the room and not all sorts of life-long insecurities - mascarading as a rational, thoughtful, helpful voice. At the beginning of the edit the two can be confused....all mixed up by fear. But as it goes along I can distinguish the useful voice from the fearful one.

So - all this to say - I actually like the editing process....I simply loathe the first day. And today was no different. Took me a few hours sof reading and re-reading the first few pages to settle back into it...and to 'hear' what would really make it better. Wow, was it scary when, for half an hour or so, I thought I'd lost both the thread of the story and the desire to write. What a carnivore fear is!

But with perseverance the howl settled down, then disappeared....and by the time I'd finished for the day I loved the opening chapter. I'd made a few changes - but the structure and message remained unchanged. And that felt wonderful.

I think about a book for about 8 months to a year before I start the first draft...but for all that, I find I only really know what a book is about when I finish that first draft. And so, of course, it will need shaping and tuning - as the themes are sharpened.

We were at Hovey, as you know, for most of the week. A beautiful way to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary-and then, on Friday, my 53rd birthday. I'd spend part of the week telling Michael (with some pride at my obvious enlightenment) that I felt very relaxed about my age and didn't care in the least that I was turning 52. It was only on Thursday that he told me, gently, that maybe I was calm about it because I'd had a year to get used to it. And that, in fact, I was turning 53.

Actually, I just laughed. I don't care at all. In fact, I've always felt older than my years, and I'm married to an older man, so this doesn't matter. but then, we're extremely lucky to have our health. And that's clearly what matters. Not age, but condition. And attitude.

When we arrived home yesterday and got in to the house Michael said he wanted to show me something. he led me back outside and pointed.

There, by the path to the pool, was a new flower bed! Planted with roses!!! Lise had done it while we were away!!! Michael had the idea and then he and Lise had schemed about where to put it and how many. It's for our 15th anniversary - and Michael knows I adore roses. Initially they'd thought of 15 bushes, but realized that would be a huge bed and perhaps less is more. So Lise chose three exquisite rose bushes...and among them she planted one of the lavender plants I'd brought home.

You can see Michael amid the roses. My lovely shade tree, my shelter. My Michael.


Pamela said...

Dear Louise,

I'm printing this and putting it on the bulletin board next to my desk. Thank you for being an inspiration. Happy Anniversary & Happy Birthday - what beautiful roses!


Lisa May said...

I once heard, in a sermon of all things, the phrase "harsh inner critic" and it completely resonated with me. I have a stellar one, so I can understand your struggle with yours. I'm glad you had a wonderful birthday & anniversary before coming back to the edit.

Jackie Houchin said...

I love your writing voice, whether it's in a novel or a blog post. It mellows me and put me in wonderful, visual, imaginitive world. Thanks for taking pen to paper... or fingers to keys as it were and writing.

Michelle Legault said...

Happy Birthday Louise!! I showed my husband Hovey Manor's website and I think I may have him hooked. It looks like the kind of place we would like. Peace and quiet. Enjoy your roses!!

Sharon Westafer said...

Happy, Happy Anniversary, Louise. And have a wonderful birthday. Just wrestle that critic to the ground and proclaim in a loud voice "I'm the bosss!".

lil Gluckstern said...

Hope you had a good birthday. Stay with your heart; it is so huge and beautiful, and tell the critic to work with you, not get in your way!

Linda said...

Happy belated birthday, Louise! I'm at that age where I'm not sure anymore, either. Just a number anyway. Beautiful roses - for a beautiful lady.

darlene said...

Your process is so fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing how you go about creating your works of art.

The roses will provide beauty for years. Good choice. I have had a red velvet one called Mr. Lincoln in my back yard for years. This spring it died to the ground, then reinvented itself completely, sending up nearly a dozen brand new canes. Can't wait for the blossoms.

Colombine said...

Bon anniversaire Louise!

Très intéressant de lire votre façon de procéder après l'écriture du premier jet du livre. On sent l'amour de votre métier.