Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fight's on!

Sometimes the need to create something wafts over me like the scent of mocha chip muffins puffing into calorie bombs as I stroll past a bakery. I don't even know I'm going to write something until I realize the smell of a new poem or a new story has led me straight to the counter and I'm ordering up dozens of words.

Other times, I'm more like Elmer Fudd with a gun. "I'm going get me some wabbit!" Last night, I had my double-barreled word gun out and I stayed up past midnight, blasting words onto the page. Don't worry, the new story's not violent; the need to create was.

You know the whole fight or flight instinct? Mine is heavy on the fight. I didn't always know this. In college, I took a fencing class, and learned that when faced with a pointy blade which, while not piercing, does leave bruises on your chest, I tend to react by: attack! attack! re-attack! (The instructor narrated the battle to point out moves and strategies to the watching class.) I won the girls' side of the mock tournament and faced the top boy. I nearly killed him. I don't think my brothers would be surprised.

Me, though, I'm amazed that I'm posting this. I'm known to most as a very mellow person. I love getting along. I hate conflict. I see other points of view with such ease that I could be a United Nations calendar girl. But I do not like myself when I get weepy or mopey when things don't go my way. So I challenge myself to a fight. Just me and some words. We go several rounds. The words usually win. But I feel better. And the best part? At the end, my opponent--my freshly created manuscript---hauls me off the floor, looks me in the eye and hands me back my self-respect.

P.S. It's a draft of a picture book. It needs work. It may never sell. But I sure had fun dueling with it. En guard, Monsieur Manuscript!


  1. In a fight between you and words, my money's on you. I'm reading Letters from Rapunzel and love it!

  2. Thanks, Laura. It's nice to know I've got someone in my corner. :)


  4. It's all about the fight . . .

  5. Why is it that I will stay up way past bedtime to fight to create a crappy short story but will run far away and go to bed early when I have a paper due?

  6. Oh, and are you going to National Book Fest this weekend? We should have organized something!!!!

  7. Jennie, and Jama, and anyone else near DC: I'll be there. I'm hoping Tricia from The Miss Rhumpius Effect will be meeting me too. Where should we meet?

    If nothing else we'll all be near the Children's and YA pavilions, won't we?

  8. I like the image of a writer duelling with words. I've been there too. Unfortunately, though, I sometimes feel, after the struggle, that both the words and I have lost.


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