Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvesting a Story

Pumpkin muffins are cooling on the counter.

A candle is burning...a hot cup of coffee in my hand.

Rain is sputtering out my window and lots of colorful leaves are falling to the ground.

I know what this means. 

Fall is saying goodbye.

And I'm melancholy working on my short story.

Trying to do what Anne Lamott teaches in "Bird by Bird," which is to develop your characters first and then let them dictate what the plot will be.  But it's hard.

I've lived with these characters for a little while.  I take them on my runs with me.  I think about what they eat, who their friends are, what makes them belly laugh, what secrets linger in their souls that they don't share with their closest confidants, who they want to be when no one's judging them, what lies in their pockets, which street they live on and who loves them.

I've got a pretty good sense of who they are as people, but it's who they are to each other that seems to be the challenge.

That, and trusting that their connection will converge a tale worth spinning and sharing with at least one other person in the world.

And this is when I want to stuff a million M&M's into my face and scream, "Writing is stupid.  It takes too much time.  No one cares.  It doesn't pay the bills.  At it's best, only a handful of folks appreciate it.  And, woe is me."

Ridiculous, I know.  It's not finding a cure for cancer.  It's not mentoring a child.  It's not shoveling a walk for an elderly neighbor.

It's writing...a short story for God sakes.

So as the leaves continue to fall, I quietly beg them, please hold on...just for a few more weeks.  Stick with me and inspire me.  Help me to see these people come to life and to know what and who they are to the world...much the same as I'm trying to figure out my own place in the grand scheme.

And let me be patient with the unknown and the unseeable and trust in Nietzche:

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Here's to harvesting a story.

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