Sunday, April 24, 2011
Making It Manageable: Stepping Back from the Whole and Savoring the Parts
Plain and simple. My father used that phrase all the time. And yet, it's only now that I begin to wonder what he meant. Oh...I knew back then, seriously. It was a stringer placed on the end of every command. "Go and do your homework (then the look of course). Plain and simple." In other words, get your motor moving and sit down at the table, and get started right now.
I am, however, a little more complicated than that. I need to know how and why and how long and where to start. Analysis. It kills me. My other favorite game is canvasing the whole world to figure out what they think about what I've done. When I have enough interpretations of the same piece of writing, then I'm set to begin to revise. Confusing, right? Well, of course.
Complicated people crave complications. Creatives complicate, embellish and enrich. But sometimes we complicate in order to hide. If I create enough of a smokescreen, I'll never have to get the job done. My dad had a word for that too...procrastination, sloth in five syllables,
he said. On that, he was wrong. I can spin my wheels (and have) for what seems like a lifetime. But when I'm spinning, I'm also imagining.
Today? I went out into my yard and perused all the buds and blossoms out there. My magnolia was calling me again. And it's then I realized the sum total of that tree is not nearly as sweet as its parts. I studied the buds...with their velvety smooth encasements, the bit of dew on its petals. And it's then that I thought about my dad...about plain and simple, about the when and how. The time is now...the how was right there in those devilish details. 'As plain as the nose on my face!' (Yup, another Jack Murphyism.) When I write, I tend to get the sum total of the idea down on the page. Now that I'm revising, the small details, just like those velvety leaves will emerge to make the work real.