Tag Archives: fear

soft upon your fields

My plants in outside pots are crushed by Houston’s icy weather, even though they were covered. The succulents look as if they were never fat and tender. Ivies are withered to nothing. I talk with a friend today and find out bids she’d been hoping for have been rejected. The icy economic weather is taking its toll, too. We can withstand so much, and then there’s a breaking point. Our faith cracks, and our hope. Fear or faith. Fear or love, we always choosing one or the other, say the psychologists. I’m going to carefully trim the dead parts off each and every one of my plants. It will be interesting to me to watch them make their comeback. I’ll be excited by the first little tender shows of green. I wish I could trim the hurt from my friend. I know she’ll green again. But does she? Someone said to me over the phone this week, this is a hard planet. Yes, and yes again. What do you do when the wind is not at your back, but pushing against your every step. It makes little blisters in the heart. At the beginning of the week, a group of us looked up an old blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

What do you do when it’s hard, when you’re in the valley, and the high mountains around cover the sunlight? When there is no rain on your fields? Our internal fields are so much more fragile than outside ones. How do you yourself hold the faith?

O, may the road rise to meet you………………..

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Come into my parlor

louis-small.jpgAs I read over the last draft to see what I have to work with, I’m amazed at how timid I am, afraid to describe fully, show these people in action. The draft is tight, tight with my fears. And now, in the polish, I have to unfurl it, make it blossom, make these worlds of long ago that I find so interesting, alluring for the readers. Come into my parlor, my spider has to say to the fly. And the fly has to go because it cannot help itself.But how to I get there from this tight, frightened draft? Strap on my high heels and start dancing. Dare to be bad so I can get to good. That’s the only wisdom I’ve learned from writing three novels. The anxiety isn’t going away. I need to write a whole draft, no matter how dreadful it is, not get stopped on reworking good scenes because I feel safe and the writing sings. I can make it better because when I’m through with a draft, I know the people and I know the plot a little more fully. But I can only learn such things through that process of the draft with all its mess, meandering paths, wrong turns, undeveloped characters.

I didn’t think Louis XIV would be the main character in this novel, and he is. That surprises me. It pleases me, too, because it’s hard to let go of history, what the biographies say, to create a character. That’s why real people who lived in the time periods I write about have always been side characters before.

But Louis was the headline of the 1600s. Why would he allow anything different now? The French court is a maze of intrigue and families. It’s been work to sort it out. But now I know the cliques, the twists of friendships. I’m on the polish, and yet I encounter places, as I did today, where I have to write new scenes. Ah, the terror of a new scene. Will it work? What do I know anyway? What makes me think I’m a writer, much less a good one?

Same old fears. Same old hip hop three novels down. You be bad. Every day, there it is. One just has to keep on typing and stay away from the scotch.