Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Back Burners

                It’s happened again. I pushed my writing WORK to the back burner for drama within the family. Why do I do this? I guess the first step is recognizing the problem so I can proceed to the next step, changing the behavior.
                As “D” told me, my husband is an adult, my children all are adults. They all should be able to make their decisions and live with their consequences, and I should focus on my life, my goals and my challenges after raising my family and caring for my parents while they were living.
                That’s a pretty stiff order for someone who was raised to be so conscientious.
                “I think your mom worked a little too hard to make you responsible,” D said. And D is right, even though D never met my parents. D is very wise.
                I’ve always heard that Catholics master guilt and carry it always. I have to tell you, I am not Catholic, wasn’t raised Catholic, but Catholics didn’t corner the market on guilt. Is it because Mom would say, “I see guilt written all over your face” whether I was guilty or innocent?
                So, here I am at a juncture where I am setting boundaries and detaching myself from business that is no longer mine. I have taught my children what I know. I have assured them I will always be around when they need me. But I have some irons of my own in the fire and I’d like to work on those things, even if it now means I will be a Grandma Moses in literature. I don’t have time for any more back burners. As they say, “I’m burning daylight.”
                Look at Clint Eastwood. He’s the same age my mother would be if she was living. He is still active in his career, presenting important stories about life. Have you figured out yet that his spaghetti westerns also were political statements? Peel away the layers of the onion until you get to the core of it and you will see that everything is political in some way. Each artist presents his or her interpretation through their own skills and talents.
                So, today I am setting boundaries to prevent interruptions to my skill building and use of my gifts and talents given to me by God who created me. Whether the people in my life understand or not.
                Today I am detaching from others’ responsibilities and tending to my own.
                How about you?

©2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Write, write, write...and write some more

A friend has talked about writing a historical novel for as long as I've known him. He said he doesn't want to start writing it until he knows exactly what he wants it to be, as if the first draft will be the final draft. I have said many times, "Just start writing scenes, the ones you know. You can figure out what to do with them later." But he wouldn't. Or maybe he couldn't. Maybe he was afraid. Are writers really afraid???

Am I afraid to write my novels? Or is it something else? What could that something else be? Well, I'm thinking it COULD be that I don't know the whole story when I start writing. So I get to a certain place in the writing of a novel and, in a panic, I think, "Oh, no! I don't know where this story is supposed to go!"

This was a real issue for me for a long time. Then I read Stephen King's book, On Writing, where he talks about The Stand. He had written a lot of it when he got to the point that he just didn't know what to do with it, where it was going. He said he nearly trashed the whole thing. Then one day it hit him where it needed to go and he finished writing it.

I will tell you that I read the unabridged version of The Stand. I knew exactly where he started foundering and wandering in circles trying to pick up the thread to continue with the story. I had a really hard time reading that book! It took me a few weeks here, a few weeks there, to actually completely read it. Over a period of a year! I would read a while, then set it aside and go read some other things. Then go back and read some more. I have NEVER read a book that way before or since. But it surely gave me some insight into writing my own stories.

So, maybe J is correct and he needs to know the whole story before he starts to write. But sometimes the story comes through the writing. You have to start somewhere, even if the place you start ends up not being the starting point of your story.

What are you writing today?

(c) 2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved.