Monday, June 02, 2008

All In Due Course

Posted by Lisa Marnell

To think about on this Monday...

Below is a scene from page 236 (paperback) of The Secret Life of Bees, when Lily finds out that August knew Lily’s mother. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the book or not – though you should. This is important because it might make sense to you in the same way it makes sense to me, namely...

Writing has its own timeline.

So the passage goes...

“How come you didn’t tell me?”

“Because you weren’t ready to know… I didn’t want to risk you running away again. I wanted you to have a chance to get yourself on solid ground, get your heart bolstered up first. There’s a fullness of time for things, Lily. You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

That's what I've been trying to do as well.

I wonder, sometimes, if other artisits have the uncertainty writers do. Singers, certainly, struggle in a similar manner to fiction writer wannabes. Many people can carry a tune, have decent range, and simply love to sing in the shower. But it's not these individuals who "make it" to the big time. It's those singers in smokey pubs who oftentimes aren't heard above the din of mindless babble. You have to love to sing.

The more I write, the more I try to write fiction, the more I believe you don't need talent so much as drive and tenacity. It isn't easy. But it isn't boring either.

5 comments:

Larramie said...

And the more you show up to write, Lisa, the more drive and tenacity you usually gain...along with more written pages.

Therese said...

Certainly talent alone won't do it--but neither will tenacity and drive be enough. We need all these things and a dash or two of luck, as well.

And no, it sure isn't boring!

Joanne said...

Writing does have its own timeline. Not too long ago I went to a John Fogerty (CCR) concert. He talked about writing songs for his latest cd, and how he spent a long time writing, but nothing was working. It took about a month before his first song came to him. He said that when you're a songwriter, you learn to be patient. I think part of any writing process is understanding the waiting part.
~Joanne

Lisa said...

I think talent gives a leg up, but craft can be developed. I think tenacity is essential. I think the defining characteristic of all writers is an innate curiosity and keen powers of observation. I think that's the trait that makes all writers feel a little apart from other people. It's that tendency to "spy" on people in public places and to wonder what their stories are and imagine that we know.

Lisa Marnell said...

It's like cooking, isn't it? Some cooks follow a strict recipe. Some fly by the seat of their pants (ever seen that spaghetti-making scene at the end of Goodfellas?)

You end up there with a dash of this and a pinch of that.