Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But I have started working on a novel, and I am finding it to be absolutely amazingly gratifying. I am able to just rip my heart open and pour it out into fiction in a way that I can't in non-fiction. It is a little difficult because I know I have to make my characters face difficult situations, or there wouldn't be any story, and I'd like for everybody to just be happy. But life isn't like that. My heart isn't like that, and I'm writing from my heart. It is a multilayered story, primarily involving a mother and her teenage daughter. It's in part a study on first love versus "old" love, on loss and fear, and many other things, told primarily from the mom's point of view right now, although I will switch to other voices later. I'm relying on Ann Lamott's bird by bird method of writing, which means I don't KNOW everything that is going to happen to my characters at this point. I know how it will end, because I have already written part of the ending. But my characters will have to show me how they will get there. Of course, the mom's heart is my heart, although her life is not mine. And the daughter is based to a great extent on my youngest daughter, who has quite an extraordinary depth. But the life is, of course, not her life, because I have to make things happen that I would not wish on my child.
Words are extraordinary things. I love them. They can have such beauty, such powerful beauty. Writing can lift me, and it can tear me apart, as can reading of course. It's amazing.
I feel as though I have become a great disappointment to many people. So many have looked to me for strength, and for faith. But here is the truth. I'm not so strong. I struggle sometimes to carry on. My daughter took me to dinner tonight for my birthday, but she said she would only take me if I promised not to burst into tears in the restaurant. And as for my faith ... well, I'll have to let you know on that one. But I do have yet things to say, words to weave, and I hope that I may yet touch hearts with them, and that I may yet bring healing to those who are lost in grief and confusion.