Friday, February 25, 2011

In which I shamelessly exploit Lewis Carroll's brilliance

Have you ever posted something on your blog and then, throughout the day, wondered why you posted it?

The post in question is yesterdays about being mindful of your words as you write them.

Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I'm NOT mindful and I'm afraid to be mindful of them and I'd rather just plow through until I get to the end and sing and dance and not think about the edits.

The rewrites.

The drudgery.

The long dark corridor of rewrites that ultimately leads through the twilight gates.

But it's that long, dark corridor that makes us writers.

It's those hours of toiling over a sentence, of deleting those lovely, gorgeous, entrancing adjectives (heh) that makes us writers.

It's the unending pain of your characters who cry out for justice (or "The End") and you just can't give it to them because, gasp, if you type "The End" is it REALLY the end? Is it really finished?

This desire to pour over every word and see them, feel them, taste them is, perhaps, two sided.

Perhaps I want to spend as much time with them in order to put off the inevitable: walking down that corridor and facing the demons on the other side of the doors that line the walls.

Perhaps I desire to nibble each word because, like Alice, I find a little bit more or less of myself when I follow the instructions "Eat me" or "Drink me".

I'm in search of the enigmatic caterpillar who'll dispense with wisdom I'm not ready for. I'm afraid of the Cheshire Cat whose grin can skip heartbeats and whose twisted logic makes more sense than real life.

Both sides of that coin are necessary on this writing journey. Taste, see, touch, smell, hear. But don't wait so long that the torches on the corridor walls go dark and the cold chills your bones as you make your way to the end of the tunnel. That's where the fun begins. When you make it to THAT door, the one at the end of the hallway, then, THEN you've found your story. Some people will rush through the hallway, skipping over boulders. Some of us will have to painstakingly open every door, turn over every stone. But frabjous day, callooh! Callay! When we reach that door, when we have the courage to open it, we find behind it the blazing fires of brilliance.

That brilliance is our story.

Go after it. Don't fear the process. Don't fear the journey. And for heaven's sake, don't fear your brilliance! Caress those words, but don't hold them too tightly. Let them fly and run after them with all your might.

Now go forth and be BRILLIANT!


  1. Great advice! I'm a very visual person and need to see in my mind's eye what's what. I can't write my Louisiana stories without feeling the soil, seeing the sky, and hearing the birds chirp. When I edit, I find I've sometimes been too visual (and so on) and work to find a happy balance. It's not easy. Have a great weekend!

  2. <3 this analogy. i think its so important to keep in mind that everybody has a different process-some spew out a book in under two months and have it polished and six, and then there's people like me, who have it the har way and work almost six months on the first draft alone. just embrace your style and go with the flow :)

  3. Beautifully said!! You follow the journey of a writer so perfectly. It's almost scary!!

  4. Love this - and so wonderfully written. And a big YES to posting things, then wishing I hadn't posted them.

  5. So you know, I'm in love with this.

  6. Maybe it's because I freaking ADORE Alice In Wonderland.... who am I kidding, not even. This post is brilliant because you wrote it so well!! I love it!

  7. Such an inspirational post! I'll be searching for that brilliant door during these rewrites.

  8. Beautiful post Jen. I believe we are kindred spirits when comes to depth of thought :)

    Have a great weekend!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  9. I love this post. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Wow. I loved this post. I adore the re-writes and edits, and then find it hard to let my babies go. The hardest part for me is finding the initial idea, after that I go where the story takes me.

    Thank you for your book recommendation today!

  11. I don't do that with my blog for some reason--I post and make a few changes, but rarely do I edit. I will if I make a glaring error, but I just don't feel like my blog is the place for my "creative" writing as it is mostly just me processing the day.

    I like your post today. Now I'm wondering how long it took you to write it and how many times you edited it!! :)

  12. Nah, if anybody shamelessly exploited Lewis Carroll, it was the folks that made the movie you screencapped. You're fine. I have had poster's regret - usually upon waking up and remembering what I set to auto-post that day. But with my daily posting schedule something always has to go up, and I try to let reader response determine whether it was a good idea. Hard, sometimes, to divorce it from the creeping feeling I've exposed too much, or expressed the wrong thing.

  13. Thanks for the inspiration! Callooh, callay indeed!

  14. Fantastic post. Really inspiring. Makes me want to look for my brilliant right now!

  15. Great words from a brave writer. Journey on!


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