And thus starts another year. 2013. Husband at work, daughter at school, me at my desk. In front of me this year is a manuscript, first draft. I feel some wonder even now, after three published books, that this torrent of words that runs over several hundred pages came from me. Where did it spring from?
Oh I know. When I look back I can recall almost every exquisite day when the words tumbled merrily and the days they plodded; the days they knew what they were and I just had to submit and the days when I had to prise them out... The days flowed into years before this manuscript acquired its current form and shape. But where did they come from?
From research, yes, from imagination, sure, but...
The rotund man with a childlike face and a saint’s voice, the boy who rocks back and forth because the only thing he trusts is rhythm, the girl who faces her biggest challenge by holding fiercely to a childhood memory, the craggy face of Hindukush, the molten waters of Wakhan - they have a life now because I created it for them, and yet, what did I create them out of?
A night’s dream, a face in a crowd, a snippet from TV that lingered, a melody that evoked, an image that haunted - the susurrus of life, translated on page. That is what a writer does. Or how she creates.
And now I must edit. Time to rein in the adventurous free spirit, to trim and truss and chop and chip. A corset comes to mind but that ain’t it. I am not trying to fit something. What I have is a rough diamond, what I need is a polished stone.
It is time to chisel. It is time to kill some of my darlings!