Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inked out, or "daring to fail"

                                           (A last wish might look much like this, methinks)

True story: I've run out of ink sometimes. I'm not talking about the tedious malaise of writer's block. There comes an hour in every work in progress when I must acknowledge an acute desolation, the fact that I simply can't remember what I once loved about a manuscript I've been working on for seemingly eons. . . Now, this is usually where I insert a perky quotation on perseverance, but first I want to talk about the art of losing. Losing faith in a story, in one's self,  letting go of a tattered fantasia because it's just too frayed to grasp any longer. I think this line borrowed from the poet Sara Teasdale truly sums up the final lament of dream loss: 
"There will be stars over the place forever."
Letting go is absolutely healthy and necessary as a writer. I must give myself permission to enter a new dreamscape, to trade the cracked lens through which I have viewed my writing for a brand new perspective. I've come to realize that the more my lofty expectations are shattered, the closer I get to who I really am as a writer, and who I am not. I know my flaws. And now I challenge them, because I also know I can reach eclosion.

So, give up! Let the stars fall where they may. Grieve for what you could not at first accomplish. Then get over it. In time, you may find yourself returning with fresh eyes and ideas to your manuscript. (Afer all, star dust makes a most excellent loam. Some say the earth itself was seeded with life from falling stars.) Or you may find a new dream altogether. Just . . . go on. You are, after all, a work in progress! As John Cassavetes challenges, we must  both "dare to fail" and have the "courage to be bad."


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