Sunday, July 21, 2013

Barbed wire through the brain

Driving home on Thursday I saw a double rainbow in the sky.  I took it as a good omen even though I knew it had nothing to do with me.  I’m sick to death of this dark and gloomy winter weather and appalled with myself for feeling so.  I should appreciate all the seasons but this winter has been too cold – and too long – for me.

I don’t know how people do it.  How they write books.  After a week at it I’m exhausted.  It is such an undertaking.  There are so many different strands to tie together and all the time the editorial voice in my head is abusing me up hill and dale for my pathetic attempts. 

I’ve heard there are people out there who love the process of revising their work.  I’ve heard there are those who might struggle to get words onto the page but once the words are there they love to spend hours polishing and refining them, dragging them into shape.  

And then there are others who might enjoy the first rush of words onto the page but thereafter they want nothing to do with those words again. 

While I sat in my friend’s room in North Melbourne trying to revise my first draft, I took time off occasionally to scour the books on her bookshelf.  Most of them dealt with the art and craft of writing. 

I picked up one on revision.  It was like running a piece of barbed wire through my brain.  The writer – I did not take in his name –  talked about the importance of revision as part of our struggle towards perfection. 

He acknowledged perfection is an impossibility, but he reckons the search for it is essential, to make the book as good as we can possibly make it. 

All the time I’m tempted to flush mine down the toilet, to give up my feeble efforts as a writer and take up knitting or some other less onerous activity.

Why do we do it? my writer friend asked me when I was telling her how miserable I had been feeling. 

I had hoped to write here of a joyous week locked away writing and revising to my heart’s content, instead I am left with a deep sense of dissatisfaction.  If only a double rainbow could offer more consolation.  

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