I love this post so much I want to print it out and pin it up on my wall.
This is just an excerpt but I really recommend reading the whole thing:
“There are people who will tell you that there is a manual for life. That you must insert Tab A into Slot B and paint it Robin’s Egg Blue from the Pottery Barn Perfect Colors Wheel™ and pair it with the Showroom Model Pilates-Toned I’m Fabulous line, as if life were one big resume building workshop. They are wrong, Fiona. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now, and none of that stuff matters. It is not rooted in anything real. You must learn to plant your own roots in soil that nurtures them.
Somehow, I feel that all of this over-prepping is a response to a world that feels frightening and unstable and incomprehensible to many adults. It IS a frightening, unstable world. But a degree from Harvard will not insulate you from the world’s pain and uncertainty and sudden losses. Though it’s hard, welcome these, too, Fiona. They are also a valuable part of your education. They will make you stronger. It will hurt like hell at the time and you will dearly wish for the Kaplan Sure-Fire Answer C to make it all go away. There is no Answer C. Remember what I said about bending, Fiona.”
I’m reading Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter. It is so beautifully written and magical and funny and terrifying and I love the characters. I can’t believe I never read her more popular Pippi Longstocking books. Now I want to read everything she’s ever written. When I was small(er) I saw the film version of The Brother’s Lionheart and it had a profound affect on me, although now I only remember the most searing images. A sick boy, a fire, the boy’s older brother carrying him on his back and jumping out the window to escape the flames, a war, secrets, someone letting a dove loose, and a world beyond death. The film was based on one of Lindgren’s books. I really must read it.
I turned in my third packet Sunday evening. I can’t believe how quickly things are moving along. Soon it will be time for another residency!!! My WIP is now 17,710 words but that’s not counting the pages and pages I hand wrote this week and haven’t typed up. I’m starting to get a better idea of where and how the novel should begin now that I’m farther into it. So at some point the word count will get shorter again because I’m going to cut/condense a lot of things. Still struggling with tone. I don’t know what I want the tone to be so it tends to fluctuate a lot depending on what is happening within a scene. I want it to be funny, but I want it to be beautiful and lyrical, too. And sometimes I want it to be eery and profound.
All this writing has reenforced the knowledge of how much I hate writing rough drafts. The hardest part is just getting it down. Revising is hard hard hard, but so much more preferable. I think, perhaps, I am a terrible writer, but a somewhat competent reviser. But if I could just figure out a way to trick myself into slogging through rough drafts then I could get to the part I like (the revising part) and then I might actually finish things instead of getting stalled by the horribleness of my first drafts. It’s a pity I can’t bribe myself with chocolate because that might work rather well come to think of it. I really hope that by the time I graduate I will have a completed novel, at least. That is my newly revised goal. Before, it was to write two novels, but now I laugh at my former innocence, or should that be ignorance? At least I have another picture book. I entered it into one of the scholarship competitions at school so we shall see what comes of that.
Also, I went to the library the other day and got about fifteen books. Add that to the pile of books to read on my floor…and I am mad mad mad! How will I read all these books?