The Labour Day weekend is upon us which, in my world means – its time to hunker down and take another whack at creating a novel in 72 hours. OK – a novella. I’ve learned, over the years, that I can only manage about 100 pages during the 3 days of the contest.
I’m nervous. I’m always nervous on the Friday before the contest.
In fact I’m nervous the entire week leading up to the contest. Which is probably why I usually FILL this week with mad outlining and timelining and such. It takes a different form each year – this nervous work. I can’t begin actual work on the story, so I work… around it. Mostly by tracing my character’s journeys (or what I THINK their journey could be) through whatever tale we are visioning together.
In 2012, I almost went MAD because the character who came to me for the contest wouldn’t LET ME outline. She wouldn’t give me a sniff of where the story was headed at all. But at least I had HER.
This year… (insert the sound of crickets and a lone tumble weed rolling…rolling)
Well this year I have decided to tackle/allow something that I have been dreaming about for the last few twirls of the 3DNC.
I keep wondering… what if… what if I just came to the page as I come to the page every other day.
This is a horrifying thought, of course.
Because, if you’ve spent any time here at all you know – I WRITE INCREDIBLY SLOWly and huge chunks of my time are spent on rewrites. HUGE I tell you! So…. how the HELL can I just… show up at midnight, light a candle, welcome my muse (AKA my co-Creatrix) and… see what happens?
It is SURELY mad. But for a few years I have been contemplating this approach.
I almost made it in 2012, but then… once I got rolling, I somehow chickened out and turned it all into a mad Road Trip/Chick Romp with a bunch of characters from other stories I have written. Which was cool, and I should probably revisit Finnegan Begin Again and see what is actually there… but….
Imagine if I could hold off the panic long enough to just…. LISTEN.
I think about this.
And I think…. what if I, gulp, didn’t worry so much about…. “writing a fascinating, funny, caper that will capture the judges attention and keep them riveted and awed by my sheer plotting genius!
And I drift off into….
Imagine if some wonderful, poetic, story that I have never even DREAMED of, swam it’s way out of the story ocean and landed bam-smack on my page. Imagine.
And then… I give my head a good shake.
Because… I feel for the judges.
I mean… imagine what gobble-dee-gook I would produce if I actually tried this method. What rambling-bambling nonsense. What self-indulgent drivel. What UTTER CRAP!
what if…. (insert dreamy music and a cloudy sky PARTING to reveal a blaze of light)
I mean, here I am winding my way through The Artist’s Way and it is all about inviting the Creator into our WORK and trusting that if we show up, the words will come and that the story the Creator wants to tell through us will …. flow out. And… Here I am … feeling the truth of so much of what TAW talks about. Except…
Except maybe THAT PART – because it is still hard for me to wrap my head around the whole idea of … playing with God in this way. Even if I call her by some other name like the Great Creatrix. Or even Ela.
See there’s at least two problems with this.
- A. God is way too busy to come play in the Writing Burrow with me
- B. I still believe that… writing is hard work. It is a craft and I must work hard hard hard to make my stories sing.
This is true AND it is also truly bullshit.
Because I know danged well that the truly juicy, truly moving, truly TRUE stuff doesn’t come from me. It comes through me. It comes when I am in the flow. When I show up every day and do my bit and manage to LET IT IN. Yes I have to work hard but that working hard is basically… showing up every day. Getting my arse into the chair and putting in my time and then… then… the blessings come. The flow comes and I am there to receive it.
And as for God being too busy to play with me – well, that’s a rather… limited… view of GOD/GODDESS/The Funky FORCE/ELA isn’t it?
But…. OK…. C’mon…. what am I talking about here?
Am I talking about highing off to the Writing Burrow and casting a circle and declaring this weekend Sacred Creation Time?
Yes. Though I’m not sure “highing off” is the right phrase.
That is EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about…. a vision quest of sorts, I suppose.
A time to retreat and listen and dream and see what it is that Spirit wants to say to me (and through me).
Like I said, this is my sixth turn round the pole for this contest. I already “remove myself from the world” for the three days. And I am, each year, seeking a vision (of sorts). But I hold tight tight tight to the reins. With my outlines and timelines and with this silly idea that I am the sole creator of this tale.
What if I just… sat there and waited to see what would come – without all that.
And what if I wrote it… more like I write these blog posts. Sorta… strange. Sorta intimate. Like I am talking just to YOU? Or what if I let my wild woman poet out for the night? What would SHE come up with?
Seriously, Pam. Why not?
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
- Silence? Maybe. But I doubt it. From experience, I know there are always voices talking inside of me. I will not sit in silence for long.
- Confusion? That is a truer possibility. Without an “outline” or map – how will I know where I am going? I won’t. I will have to make the journey to find it.
- Stuff tumbling out that is… too honest, too close to the bone, too… much. Too much of what I must not say.
There it is.
That is the horror of this idea.
And… so what if it DOES? I don’t have to send it anywhere. I don’t have to torture the judges with it if what emerges is entirely personal.
And if I don’t have “something to submit” at the end of the contest…. will that be some huge FAILURE?
I suppose it will be – on one level.
But on a deeper level – is there really any way to fail?
The woman who sits watching, listening,
eyes moving in the darkness
is rehearsing in her body, hearing-out in her blood
a score touched off in her perhaps
by some words, a few chords, from the stage,
a tale only she can tell.
~ Adrienne Rich (Transcendental Etudes)
So it goes.
And so it will go this year.
As I type this, there are less than 10 hours to “go time.”
I’ll let you know how it all works out.
Sending wishes for a fantastic weekend winging out to those of you participating in the contest.
Sending a super big super proud super extra lovey wave of support to YOU – yeah – you (stop ducking behind that post.) Thank you for joining me in this mad adventure for the first time this year. You are so gonna ROCK it!
And to the rest of you, as well. Happy trails, my friends. I’ll see ya after the dust settles.
Thanks for stopping by.
And now… for something entirely HOLY and HOT…. my newest music crush – Eivor.
May she carry us off into a trance of creativity.
Go easy (unless the bastids make you go hard!) ~p