As for the charge of escapism, what does escape mean? Escape from real life, responsibility, order, duty, piety, is what the charge implies. But nobody, except the most criminally irresponsible or pitifully incompetent, escapes to jail. The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is “escapism” an accusation of?
– Ursula K. Le Guin, “It Doesn’t Have to Be the Way It Is” from No Time to Spare
Revisions are just a wholly different beast than writing new stories. It’s hard to feel like I’m making progress because I’m losing perspective. I made several lateral revisions today — I didn’t feel like they made the piece better or worse necessarily, just different. It’s a whole different skill set to work on, it feels like.
That’s left me feeling kind of listless this week because I’m having trouble figuring out how to mark progress. Anyone have any tips?
The other day, a package from my parents showed up on our doorstep completely unannounced. But sometimes my parents send us care packages out of the blue, so Adam and I were pretty pumped. Usually it’s food or tea.
We opened the cardboard box, brushed away packing peanuts, and discovered this.
We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.
And that is why we write.
– Neil Gaiman, “Telling Lies for a Living… And Why We Do It: The Newbery Medal Speech, 2009” from The View from the Cheap Seats
Bit of a slow week. I did some revisions on a short horror piece about sirens, but it’s still not sitting right. I can’t tell if it wants to be longer or not. I also added (and then subtracted) many words to a short story about memories. I’m not entirely sure where it wants to go, so I’ve been playing around with different structures, but this is one that might need to go back to scratch and be rebuilt from the ground up. I really, really like the idea though, so I’m reluctant to let it go.
I’m finding that many of my stories right now are about memory and narrative, and they have a tendency to take a dark and twisty bent.
Lots of reading and thinking this week and not as many new words as I’d like. But then again, maybe that’s what revisions feel like? I don’t know yet.
Fiction is both process and mystery, knowledge and imagination. It lies somewhere on a spectrum that begins with poetry and ends with statistics. It is art. It takes the forms and shapes of the real world and re-views them with new perception: the shade, texture, and weight of the subconscious and the unreal.
– Karen Lord, “What Is/What If: The Beauty of Mystery” from Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer
Short update this week.
Not as much added to the novel word count this week — up to about 16.5k words. Mostly worked on revisions this week and doing some reading.
I’m working on getting up the courage to apply to a writing workshop this year. I mean, the worst (and most expected) thing would be that they just say no, right? And on the flip side, maybe I would get into a writing workshop! But to get the application together, I need to get some of my shorter pieces written/revised/polished, so that’ll be my main focus for this month.