Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grace . . . and Will

Indeed, we all seek, and once in a great while, know that marvelous feeling of nailing it, of the stars aligning, of our slipping into the groove--or the more au courant, the flow--and finding le mot juste, spinning the ideal paragraph, or, even better, surmounting Randy's challenge and knowing when to stop.

As Mike says, the key is perseverance. Like perspiration.  Hmmmm, sounds a lot like that four letter word I threw out a few posts back, that word so many seem, Maynard G. Krebs-like, to fear, or just not to trust as the primary route to their writing goals.


As in, toiling and pushing yourself to dredge up, hopefully and eventually, the best you can find deep within yourself and get it into words, to black on white.  And then more work, as Mike says, to revise.  And revise again.

And yet, those pesky critters from myth keep trying to get our attention and claim--what the fuck?--responsibility!  Well, only when what we write turns out, momentarily at least, to be fairly good.  All that bad shit's ours, they blithely remind us through their absence.  Clever little bastards.

Sounds a bit convenient, doesn't it?  For both the writer and their invisible friends, perhaps?

So, now the word grace seeks somehow, with even higher-flung aspirations, maybe, to supplant those cartoon muses and their whimsical, unpronounceable names.  But there's a common thread:  Calliope and Terpsichore and Grace all dance, like sugar plum fairies, outside our heads, and, for me at least, can have zero claim on what I may write . . . the bad or the good.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I see grace in Mike's and others' words and I admire his seeking of the elusive palmed card.  But just to confirm Mike's point, and to make sure no one starts waving the censor and clanging bells and gazing skyward, what I see in his grace is a writer who pushes and--yes--works and works his craft and art until it yields, and from within, he opens himself and that grace spills out.

So not a fluttering muse or some otherwordly, magical anointing of grace from without, but simply, from within, with perseverance, the will.


  1. I totally agree with you David in that Mike (and us writers) don't need magic or grace to pen our art -- we just need to get to work and do it; grace then flows, and magic happens. But a missing dimension, especially in Mike's case as he often explains, is TIME. Truthfully, who doesn't fight for that precious resource?
    I think a Covey course on time management would benefit us! Unfortunately, Covey classes are pretty expensive.
    Yeah... It might be easier after all to wish for more time to write rather than to actually make more time to write, which brings me to ask outright: Do you know, David, of any mythical entities who can manipulate time dilation and contraction and will respond to wishes or sacrificial offerings? As in dead bunnies or hawthorn berry wine?
    Merlin comes to mind! Although one legend suggests --and Mike? Tell me if I got this wrong-- the Magician is being punished by his cohorts and is forced to travel back in time 'to feel the loss of time that he so greatly took for granted' or something like that.
    So, Merlin might be riding a galloping stegosaur by now and totally out of the wish-granting franchise.
    Any better suggestions, Mike? Gang?? Mike???

  2. david, this is a great piece on the will to write, the perseverance to stay at it inspite of all the work that needs to be done. don't we all want to be jk rowling, who seems to have a magic pencil when it comes to putting harry down on paper.
    but the center of your piece refers to "the pesky critters". who are those guys, and what are they laying claim to? this left me feeling confused.
    i really hear what you are saying, writing is work, and perseverance, with some god-given grace thrown in. annie

  3. Annie, those pesky critters are the muses that so many of us sit and pine for, waiting for their whispered inspiration while we get nothing down on paper. What those invisible friends should be telling us is simply "Get off your lazy ass and put your fingers on the keyboard!"