Saturday, November 26, 2011

Depth of Field



One of my great teachers used to say that the elements of nature are "one-eyed," in other words, great forces that carry on large and small, no matter the impact on creatures of our size. The element of air, for instance, exists as the tiniest breeze but also as a category five hurricane. Since we are "two-eyed," we must be discerning. When invoking the element of air, she always said, be specific - ask for a gentle breeze, never ask for the full force of the power of air. That's crazy.

Likewise, it's great to go for a bike ride when the air is still, or moving slightly, but ridiculous to get out there in a 50 mph gusty wind. One of my spirit guides likes to tell me it's ok to take shelter when needed. Safety first!

It's in this spirit that I'm mindfully, consciously, and purposefully saying goodbye to Vega, fiction writing, and NaNoWriMo. It has been one of the most powerful experiences I can remember, the way I was swallowed up in the vortex of the story, how much I wanted to do nothing but write. It was a full blown word bender, an addiction spun out of control. I bet I'm not the only fiction writer who believed I could stop whenever I wanted. Holy cow.

I looked over a few chapters yesterday - the text is more of a plot avalanche than a piece of prose. There is no common voice, some parts are excessively descriptive, others pure action. Some chapters contain dialog only; you have to guess what's actually going on. There are huge chunks of missing information, explanations of how Vega got from a dangerous situation back to the hotel, for instance. There are too many spy devices; there's not nearly enough soul. In other words, The Tell sucks!!

Ha ha!!

Creativity, too, is a force of nature. When I'm in the flow I am completely blissed out, whether or not what I'm creating is worth the time and effort. It's the process I love, not the product. This was the case with The Tell. I'm not sad or disappointed it's so bad. Honestly, I think it's hilarious. NaNoWriMo vs. Reya? Ka-pow! Knockout in Round One.

As a two-eyed, discerning being, I'm letting go. Well, I might write a final chapter but that's it, to kill her off or let her live happily ever after. Is that the same thing as saying "one more cigarette, then I quit!" ?? Could be. It was a great lesson, very revealing and extremely fun. I'm very happy I gave it a go, and very happy I'm not deluded about the experience. Also grateful to acknowledge that I'm eager to move on.

All is well. Shalom.

9 comments:

Rebecca Clayton said...

It's interesting what we can find out about ourselves writing fiction. My attempts are the opposite of yours--action slows to a snail's pace, or just stops as I have to describe exactly what the scene and the character look like, down to fiber content of the character's shirt. I was never meant to be a novelist, but when it comes to set and costume design, look out Hollywood!

Cyndy said...

Well I guess it's Goodbye Vega then - although I do believe that there can be creativity in editing, but it's probably more craft than creative. It was fun reading about your process.

I love the two photos today. They're so clean and pure. Cleansing yourself of Vega perhaps?

Rahree said...

i'm right there with you - boy, i learned a lot about writing - and my specific style - over the last month! (but I don't like my protagonist very much, even after two large jump-the-shark moments.)

is it silly that I'm looking forward to trying it again? Maybe in January, when things are a little quieter? This time for sure I'll have a little bit more of a plan.

Ciao, Vega!

Reya Mellicker said...

Rahree - may the force be with you! Some people can do it, others of us should write other things, not fiction.

Rebecca that is so funny! I, too, was really interested in describing all the clothing. There's a chapter I called Deuteronomy in which Vega does nothing but talk about style and the way clothes affect the way we are perceived. She is/was (after all) a master of disguise.

So funny as I have only worn two styles in my life. In high school I dressed like a slut, but as soon as the Summer of Love arrived, I switched to jeans and t-shirts. I've never gone back.

steven said...

reya - eight days ago i rode through a snow flurry that was almost a white out. today i rode in entirely still air. each carried its own weight. in my frst ride i was with a person i love, in the second alone. my needs and awareness were entirely different and carried their own weight and colour. describing each long moment - and all of the tiny moments within each - left me feeling more like an observer than a participant. not a crime! but less substantial. like quick food compared to the slowly and carefully prepared. know what i mean?!!! xo steven

Reya Mellicker said...

I do know what you mean, Steven! I do.

Steve Reed said...

I love that fence photo!

Maybe, just maybe, after a while you'll feel like tackling The Tell again -- to make those missing connections, edit out the excess and give Vega a finale of some kind. Never say never!

Angela said...

I know this power in myself too, the one that could carry me away, and I was always kindo scared to let those horses run. But the older I get and the more I know myself, I dare to tiptoe close to the point.
With this decision you proved to yourself that you are NOT addicted, very good. But after some rest, you might smile at Vega again?

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve - never say never! I like that, thanks for reminding me.

I took the fence pic the day after T-day. Thought about you during much of that walk, of course.