February 17, 2006

Epiphany du Jour

You know, I had kind of a strange thought while I was emailing a friend today on a completely non-writing-related topic. (And if you're reading, Lj, sorry, but you know how people with blogs are.) We were talking about moving, and how some people we know move. A lot. And how psychotically disarranged it makes your inner life, and how some people seem to relish bemoaning the discomfort, and the inevitable little losses, etc. And then, I said something which showed just how much of a writer freak I have become:

I do think we get conditioned to move. Or to run. Or to turn the page to a blank sheet if we don't like the story we're writing on this page. The only problem with that fresh start/fresh sheet is that we never finish the story we're on. In writing, that sucks - we miss writing our way out of potentially difficult passages to see how the complexity and beauty of the finished product hinges on those chapters we rewrote and tightened up umpteen times. We miss knowing that we can, when we must, face deleting entire sections of the work and reworking it again. And again. And again. In life... well, there's no delete button, but I do wonder sometimes if some mental files don't get lost, like our inevitably mislaid box of knives, if we never allow ourselves to get past a certain point where we are.

Wow, I scare me.

But then I thought, SERIOUSLY. This is true. How much have I grown as a writer, just in the last two months, from editing and re-editing the veriest piece of crap ever written that I used to call my novel? How good was it for me, back in undergrad days to lose entire papers, and be forced to replace said essays from memory, assignments that were always even better the second time around? While I wouldn't advise this for anyone - our blood vessels can only take so much pressure before the inevitable Jake Morgendorffer style eruptions - it does go to show that tight spots can sometimes be good for you. Tremendously good.

Typical, huh? What doesn't kill us makes us heck of good at ad libbing.

My two cents before the long weekend.

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