from the archives of 2006. . .
“What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath.”——Thomas Crum
When I saw this quote in a recent issue of “Pause for Beauty,” the online newsletter from Heron Dance, I felt that the same words could be written about the creation of a novel.
Needless to say, both lives and novels have deadlines that are hard to put on hold while the world or the words unfold at an unhurried pace.
We worry about outcomes so much that it’s often difficult to see where we are while we’re doing the worrying. In a sense, we want to rush ahead to Hallowe’en or to Thanksgiving or to Chrismas, or the new year. Likewise, we often want to simply get the book done so that it can be out the door and we can move onto something else.
There’s an aspect of our lives and our work that unfolds in a very natural way, some say like the bud of an unfolding rose. Everything it touches–from novels to Thanksgiving dinners–becomes richer and more meaningful if we can step back from time to time and allow simply allow it to happen without our obsessive tinkering with it.
I still feel this way in 2012, though it’s hard not to get tangled up in the national and international issues of the day, the constant need to find new ways for small-press authors to market books, keeping up with aging cars, medical expenses and all the other hard-to-let-go things that intrude into both writing time and solitude.
Luckily, I can “work” while doing errands because the story in progress is always on my mind in a low-key way. The sky attracts my attention as I head for the grocery store and ravens speak as I drive down Washington Street toward the pharmacy. When I allow myself to experience where I am and what I’m seeing, I’m unfolding rather than forcing the bloom before its ready.
The earth and sky speak to us when we allow them to enter our hurried days, and we are richer and healthier for it.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism and contemporary fantasy, including the paranormal kindle short story “Moonlight and Ghosts.”