You know it the moment you read the first page— or even the first sentence. You have started reading a good book, and you must be very careful.
You have a life to live. You have responsibilities.
Sure, it’s the weekend, but your List of Things to Do really must get done.
Okay…you may read for an hour.
A good book is always over too soon. So you force yourself to read slowly. You bookmark your favorite pages. You highlight each beautiful phrase that rings true. You shake your head in wonder as you turn to the next page.
The author spent time researching, writing, and crafting each word. You want to savor each word. You should not rush to the end— even if you want to know what happens next.
When the end arrives, you sit in silence…breathing slowly…trying to steady your heart.
Many years ago, when I had fully transitioned out of theatre and into the corporate world, I would listen to my old rehearsal tapes on my commute to work. I loved the sound of learning a piece of music: the music director counting off the beat, breaking down a phrase into sections of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—discussing the interpretation of the music, bad notes, fixed notes, laughter, and then putting it all back together.
Bit by bit, putting it together.
-Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
(Oh yes, Mr. Sondheim, we will talk about you someday soon, my friend…)
These days, I am drawn to the sound of authors discussing their writing and creative process.
Do they write early in the morning or late into the night?
Where do they find their ideas?
What do they find most challenging about writing?
Seth Meyers recently interviewed Paul Beatty regarding his book The Sellout. There is some interesting conversation here about Beatty’s writing philosophy, including the question- Are you a Completionist or a Perfectionist? Hm…
A few months ago, I returned from a vacation at the Grand Canyon. After tackling some new terrain, I was feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle some life goals too.
With perfect timing, there in my Facebook feed was an advertisement for a short story fiction writing workshop. It met on Wednesday nights for an hour and a half, and it ran for six weeks. I could handle that! It wouldn’t interfere with my work schedule. It was a short commitment, and it would be the chance to try fiction writing again.
Our main assignment for the workshop was to write a short story. The only other guidelines were that the story had to be ten to fifteen pages long, double spaced, and emailed to the class the Friday before our next meeting. I was in the first group, so I had a little more than one week to prepare my story. Continue reading