Monday, February 9, 2009

The Good Bad Magic Place

Some time ago I was camping in the winter. There was so much snow we had to shovel a flat space for the tent, and little pathways to the "bathroom." This was the sort of thing that seemed irresistibly cool when discussed by a roaring fire with a glass of amber liquid in hand ... but which, when put into practice, seemed to result in numb fingers and the near-paralysis that comes from wearing six inches of clothing layers.

Not fun! I told myself, scuffing through snow in the blue dusky darkness. Why do we do this, again?

Then I realized: because it's a different place. Because there's something of value to be gained from just being somewhere unusual. Forget about how it feels at the moment; it's enough for it to be different and, therefore, good.

I am way into my work in progress. Way in. Way, way, way in. So far in I can't remember the freshness of the beginning, nor can I see the end. It's exhausting me, and it's not even that good.

But no first draft is, I tell myself, and return to the slog.

But maybe it's like that cold weekend in the snow. There's a magic to writing a first draft. I don't know what's going to happen, so in a sense it's like reading the story for the first time. Yes, it's hard; yes, it's frustrating; yes, it comes nowhere close the shining image I had when I started.

But still, it's different. There's a magic to this part of the process that won't be here when I revise, or send out queries.

Or so I tell myself.

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