Monday, June 16, 2008

Stepping Back

I just returned from two weeks in the Thousand Islands. Almost every day I engaged in some kind of invigorating physical labor--gardening, weeding, raking, clearing brush. I loved pushing my body. Other than one short blog post (see below), my daily journaling, and a few e-mails, I didn't write a word. As I have many times since I started working on my novel, I needed to step back to get a fresh take on it. I've put two years into the book and have written approximately 400 pages, but I'm not yet satisfied. The story in my head is still so much more vivid and textured than the one on the page, especially the scenes that take place in Africa.

It occurred to me recently that creating art (or, for that matter, creating a life) is like arranging a picture on a wall. One needs to step back and adjust, step back and adjust, so that the work hangs straight. Up close, one doesn't have the necessary perspective.

A friend said to me recently that I might never finish my novel. He's wrong. I will complete it. I just don't know when. We all have our champions and naysayers. Ultimately, however, we must believe in ourselves.

Note: The photo above is of some impatiens I planted on the walkway leading down to the boathouse.

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