There is a story I read uncounted times before I was ten years old. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
I loved not only the words. I loved the drawings by William Nicholson as well. I would trace my finger along the lines of the words and images. I wasn’t consciously imagining I was writing or drawing. No. But there was something compelling, some feeling that filled me as my finger touched the shapes on the pages. Two dimensions becoming three dimensions in my imagination.
In Margery’s story, love and belief change the velveteen rabbit from stuffed toy to Real.
Isn’t this what I am doing, every time I write and draw? Love and belief becoming the words on the page and the lines in the drawing. Words becoming story. Lines becoming image. Real.
I hear people say believing is seeing. They are right.
Belief changes everything.
So does love.
When I write and draw, I can’t see the end of what I am creating. I don’t know how the story will close. I can’t see the image that will be there after I place the last mark on the paper.
I can’t see that far as I work, but I can feel.
I draw and write because I love to. Creating calls to me, and I love it even when it scares me. I can’t not do it. That’s feeling. And I believe that there will be a completed drawing and a full piece of writing when I go to my easel or sit down at my work table. I believe. That’s feeling, a knowing within me. This something I am doing will become Real.
Love and belief are what carry me when I move from idea through to Real.
I didn’t know, when I was reading The Velveteen Rabbit, that I was learning what love and belief can create. All I knew was that I loved the whole story, word and image. I loved how it made me feel, that magic is real, and if I want something enough, it will happen.
Last night, before I sleep, I think about writing this post. As I listen, I hear the title. And I know I need to begin with The Velveteen Rabbit. I don’t know where this will carry me, but now, today, here I am at the close. Love and belief have done this.
The Universe hands me things when I am creating. This morning at breakfast I am reading (for the second time) Write Away by Elizabeth George. Here is how she closes her book about writing a novel:
‘The writing. I’m approaching the end of the rewrite, so I’m scared. July seems so close. I have so much work to do. I’m feeling afraid. I’m feeling as if I don’t have an adequate handle on the story. God knows that’s the truth; I don’t. But what I’m going to do is this: I’m going to move the novel forward by five pages every day. I’m going to believe that I’m doing what I was intended to do by God: to write. I’m going to believe that the words are there within me, the ideas are there within me. I’m going to believe that I’m fully capable of seeing this project through. I’m going to remember that I’ve always been afraid and I’ve always worked through the fear and past the fear, turning it into faith. There is a saying: ”Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” I do that daily, as I try to address myself to yet another project. Boy, is this a difficult way to make a living. It makes teaching look like a cakewalk. What is a cakewalk, by the way? I’ve always wondered. I think I’ll look it up. Later.
Journal of a Novel, November 4, 2001’
Love and belief. Let them carry me. Let my believing be seeing.
In this post:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, illustrated by William Nicholson. First published in 1922 by George H. Doran Company. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velveteen_Rabbit
Write Away by Elizabeth George. 2004, Harper Collins. http://www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com/