Second Draft, First Draft

Blackbird Dance (desire)'detail
Blackbird Dance (desire) – detail

I am thinking about the second draft of my book.  The one I put aside last September.

I am coming back to it.  I’ve made a pact with my friend who is also writing.  She’s close to the end of her first draft.  We both need someone to write with, partner, give us each that extra push to reach the finishing line by the end of the summer.  Tell us in a sure voice, yes, you are doing it, almost there.

Chocolate and iced mochas, cafes and beaches will help as well.  Bribery works.

I wonder, as I look at my half-done second draft, why I wrote the first draft.  What sent me to the page?  Who was I writing for when I sat all those days at my studio work table, moving words and pen across the paper?

I can give the usual answers.  I was writing for me.  Writing to understand what I experienced.  Writing to make sense of the path I walked.

These are all true.  Not specific enough, for me, right now.

What was it that sent me to the page with enough words to fill a whole book?

Here I have to pause.  Feel back to where I was when I began the writing.  Not think.  Feel.

Like all I create, it was the push of an idea.  You might say ideas are thoughts, and thoughts are not physical.  This may be true for you.  Not for me.

My ideas and thoughts carry weight.  I feel them in my body.  No two feel exactly the same.  This idea to put words to my experience was heavy and insistent.  It sat in my belly, all of my belly.  It was very sure of itself and its importance.  It would not leave.  The only choice was to birth it.  Sit at my work table and write.  Day and day and day.  Let the idea flow as words from belly through heart to hand to ink and paper.

The insistence and sureness and sheer weight of idea into words is what carried me through to the end of the first draft.  This, and joy.  Joy runs as a thread through all my creating.

These things sent me to the page.

I tell you what I know for sure.  Without that weight in my body where the idea sat, the writing would not have happened.  That weight was the connection between the idea and me.  That weight told me the idea was real, here and whole already, even though I had yet to write a word.

Now that the first draft is done, and the second draft half-done, paused and returned to, is the idea and its weight still here in my body?

It is.  I feel it now, sure and insistent and whole, waiting for me.  I am not going anywhere, it tells me, until we are done.

This feeling is a gift of knowing.  It has carried me, and continues to carry me, as I write.  This knowing is all I need to know.  This book will be.

Insistent.  Sure.  Whole.  And the thread of joy.

Being Here and Wanting There

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
Containers For The Soul

It is Thursday and I am here in my studio, writing.  Through my windows I see pine and fir and aspen forest, all around me.  From my front door, I see rows of round hills moving into the distance.  Greens and smoky blues.  The wood thrush has returned for the summer’s nesting.  I heard him calling yesterday, a song that sings like water over stone.

Beauty is here.  Yet today, it is not enough.  My heart is longing for the ocean.

What is it in me that can move away from peace so easily?

I love my studio here in the trees at the top of the round hill.  I open my window and the air breathes me.  The songbirds and the ravens companion me.  Their calls inspire me to imagine and write and play.  Peace and creation live here with me.  Fall, winter, spring.

When summer comes, I move my studio to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  There, I have ocean close to me.  On three sides of me, when I look on the city map.  I can leave my summer studio, drive four minutes in my car, and I am there with my beloved ocean.

I love my studio there, where the ocean lives close by.  I open my window and the beach rushes in.  I hear the seagulls yelling from their heights in the sky, hear the baby crows demanding their place in the world.  When I sit at the beach and write, the waves move in time with my words.  Peace and creation live there with me.

What is it that moves me so easily into longing?  Time.  I have been away from my ocean for nine months.  The forest and hills have filled me, and now I come close to the time for change, to become washed by my ocean.

Oh, my heart, love here where I am now.  Love here where I am creating these words to the sound of the wind in the trees and the wood thrush song.  Know that I am blessed to move from peace to peace.  From forest and hill to ocean and beach.  From beauty to beauty.

Love what is here before me today, and love what I know will come soon enough.  Love the longing I feel today, that created the words on this page.  Cradle my longing.  Whisper ‘Thank you.’  And whisper ‘Soon, I promise, soon.’

 

Come And Play

 

01.joy.sept26.600ppi
The Joy Diary Sept. 26 2015

It’s grey cloud outside.  We’ve had rain for two days.  A good thing.  We need it.  The land is too dry for mid-May and we have a summer yet to move through, and wells we rely on.

I’ve been busy all week, creating, writing, making plans.  Playing with possibilities.  Daydreaming.  Enjoying all of this.  Everything in full colour.

And now this morning, here I sit noticing how I feel like the colour of the grey clouds outside.  I can blame it on the weather.  I know that sunny days boost my energy and my mood.  Sunny day equals sunny Cat.  This is not a sunny day.

I know what is going on.

It’s not the rainy weather.

The full-on creating has drained my well.  I’m running into a drought.

I have a well of creativity within me that I use.  All week I have been creating, playing with my possibilities, pulling water from my well.  Good.  It is meant to be used.  All good.

What I forgot to do was refill my well after pulling from it.  Yes, too busy being busy.

My creativity is a balance.  I imagine and write and draw, using the ideas, inspiration, words, and images that flow from my well.  Then I need to replace what has been used.

How do I do this?

I play, with no agenda and no goals.  No expectations or rules.  I become the child I was—really, the child I still am.

I bring out my felt pens and colouring books, my Spirograph set, my crossword puzzles.  I wander my way through the million images in one of my art books.  I plug in my iPod, choose my soundtrack of the day, and dance around the living room.

I pull out the deck of cards and crib board, and lose (a regular occurrence) to my husband.  Then I challenge him to Scrabble, and win (also a regular occurrence).

I phone one of my friends and we talk forever.

I drive to town, and wander through the library, the bookstore, and the toy store.  I get a mocha (grande, decaf, to go) from my favourite café, then park by the lake.  Car windows open.  Sip mocha.  Savour that marriage of chocolate and coffee in my mouth, feel the heat as it moves down my throat.  Watch the water and the sky.  Hear the red-wing blackbirds, the ducks, geese, gulls.  See the goslings, fuzzy balls in their baby feathers, following their parents around the edge of the water to where the new grass tastes best.

This.  All of this fills my well again.  Play and pleasure running through my senses, through my body and heart and mind.  Choosing to reach into the things that I love.  Leaving the watch and the clocks behind.  Moving back into balance.

Hearing my own voice calling me.  Come and play.

Today Is A Writing Day

chantel.fixed.large
I dreamed the wind and danced its edges. (Chantel)

This gives me joy—today is a writing day.

Five words.  A declaration and an intention.  A pen with dark pink ink and a stack of loose leaf paper.  An open heart and a hungry mind.  This is all it takes to give me joy.

I can write anywhere.  My joy is portable.  How cool is that?  It is easily called and easily, instantly created.

I could make this difficult, make my writing feel like work.  Be all serious and ‘this has to be good, this has to be perfect, this has to be outstanding, a twenty out of ten on the Writing Scale.’  Putting my focus on the product, the outcome, how my writing will be received.

Ick.  No.  That is the job of my internal critic, who is sleeping right now.  There is no need to call her.  She is grouchy when woken up.  Truth, she is grouchy all the time.  No.  I don’t need her here, being bossy.

I am putting my focus on creating.  Being in action.  This is play.  Writing my blog post is play.  Jumping into words like they are the biggest ball room at the playground, and I get to wiggle into the middle of all these words and find the ones I love best today.  Try this one or this one.  String together these ones.  Nope, not this one.  Choose the one over here instead.

Joy.  This is joy.  Imagining.  Being curious.  Experimenting and finally choosing which words I want.

This is how I played as a child.  No expectation.  Just diving into the ball room of my imagination and letting myself go wherever I wanted, for as long as I wanted.

Pablo Picasso said every child is an artist.

He is right.

I am a child today.  I am playing with words and pen and paper and my imagination.  I am in joy.

Today is a writing day.  There is nothing better.

________________________

Mentioned in this post:

Pablo Picasso, artist, 1881 – 1973,  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pablo_picasso.html