The next excerpt from my PYI keynote in a series that started in December 2011…
I feel like the ground in winter,
Hard, cold, dark, dead, unyielding.
Then hope pokes through me
Like a crocus.
This poem by Jean Little called simply “Surprise” expresses how I feel when a story isn’t working. “I feel like the ground in winter, Hard, cold, dark, dead, unyielding.” And how that breakthrough moment feels, when I know there’s still hope that the story will sing. “Then hope pokes through me Like a crocus.”
Of course, the poem isn’t just about writing, so one year I typed it up several times, on tiny pieces of paper, and tucked them inside small tree ornaments, to give as gifts to members of my family. Don’t tell Jean, okay. Some writers would take what I did as a compliment. Jean would see it as infringement of copyright. She might even demand a royalty. And I can’t blame her. It’s hard to make a living at this writing business, no matter how many years we’re at it. It’s a good thing it has its other rewards.
Like having the flexibility in my day-to-day life and a kind enough boss (that’s me) that I can usually, if I feel like it, choose to go play in the garden or take a long walk in the woods near my home, on the first sunny day after a week of rain.
Like meeting a teenage fan at her parents’ home in New Brunswick after exchanging letters with her for some years, starting when she’d read the first Marie-Claire book. And now that she’s almost finished high school, having her confide in me, as we walked the Tantramar Marsh, stuff about her boyfriend and how she’s dealing with being bullied.
And, of course . . .
Do you think you know the other reward I would almost have to mention? Be sure to read the next installment of my Packaging Your Imagination keynote.