Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Force Winds

A big wind is a' blowin', in case you haven't heard, and by the end of this Labor Day weekend, there will be lives changed. As a Floridian, I can testify that hurricanes do that: pummel everything in their paths to unrecognizable conditions. Make a stew of it all: one part sewer pipe; one part feather-exploding bed pillow; three parts mud.
I've had my own personal hurricane going on inside me. My foot surgery, 13 weeks now, is a category four. And I can't escape to a shelter. After a hurricane, you think about running out to pick up a gallon of milk, and you have to think about flooded streets and downed power lines. With my category four foot, I have to think about how far I'll have to walk; how I can elevate my foot; how much will it hurt.
A creative hurricane has also hit me this week. The manuscript I'm working on is still not ready for other eyes: so far to go, so much to discover beneath the muck. I even wondered for a couple of days, when my foot was throbbing and my book was reading like a fifth grade essay, if I was doing what I really wanted to do. Was I living the way I wanted to live? Was I being the person I wanted to be? Was I writing about what I wanted to write about?
So I took to my notebook: my hurricane shelter. And I asked myself what it was I really wanted say in my story.
Here's what came out:
I want to write about how hard it is. How hard it is to even figure out how hard it is. How hard it is to get it right. How hard you have to try.
And then, beneath the floodwaters, I discovered: I was living my story. I was asking the same questions my character was asking.
Can that be a sign I'm on the right path?
Or just a cat-four hurricane ripping through my life?
Have you had a creative hurricane? What insights resulted? How did it change your writing?


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Writing for publication can be frustrating and vexing. So we have to write for ourselves, what we really want to say. And then decide later if we want to try to share it with the world.

Anonymous said...

So true Jacqueline!

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Rebbie: Enjoyed your post, as always. I think most of us get lost, somewhere in the middle of a story. I had to laugh, because sometimes I think the same thing--this is like a 5th grade essay. However, your post makes me wonder what genre the story is and what the protaganist is going through. Maybe you're in the dark moment, which is like a tunnel you have to pass through before the ending comes flushing out, just in time to keep you from chucking the whole thing. Sorry about your foot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joyce, for the well-wishes and maybe you're right: a tunnel would be just about how it feels!

Terry Odell said...

Having lived in Florida for 30+ years, hurricane preparation was an annual given. We never experienced a hit when we lived in Miami, which was far more of a target, statistically, than when we lived in Orlando, but that's where we were hit by 4 in 1 season.

Writing isn't easy. Making a career of it is definitely Not Easy, especially now when the industry is in such a state of flux--perhaps going through its own hurricane.

But when I feel like calling it quits, after a few days of not writing, I realize I'm going to write no matter what. Publication is another issue, but the writing continues.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Anonymous said...

I remember the year of hurricanes, Terry. What a nightmare! I like your last statement: Publication is another issue, but the writing continues.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Boy can I identify Rebbie - Hurricane Rita tore through our area in 2005 followed by Gustav & Ike in 2008 - although personally I missed a direct hit from either in 08 - Thank God! - the threat is always there - amazing what we can do when the winds of creativity are flowing too.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pam! And don't we wish both types of winds were more manageable!

Joyce Yarrow said...

Whether the "hurricane" results in a physical, psychological or socail upheaval, we wake up the morning after the storm wondering what it was all about - so much destruction, so much resilience required to face it. As writers sometimes we become our own hurricanes - sweeping away superficial characters and events, tossing away pages, blowing down houses not strong or big enough to hold the essence of our story. Writing as a primal force - what an idea!

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Rebbie, from a fellow writer battered with injury! Mine's a broken collar bone & dislocated shoulder from a 100-lb dog who lunged after a rabbit on leash. Bogie, my niece's Golden, was my hurricane. The pain meds that accompany injuries can impede writing, but the suffering creates inspiration for agonized dialogue and black moments. I'm wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce--I love your last statement of writing being a primal force. That's so true--and I'm thinking that's where this "must write" need comes from. Thanks!
And Janet--wow! Injuries by a hundred pound pooch will definitely make for some interesting stories! And you're so right about those pain meds. I try to avoid them, but as you know, sometimes you just have to break down. I hate them, too. My already-weird brain tends to find strange and new lands. :) My sincere wishes for your speedy recovery also. :) Thanks so much.