Writing · Yoga

The more I dig in.

I’m tired of the snow and ice but glad it’s February, if only because it means we are a whole month closer to spring.

An addendum to my last post: the other day I heard my teacher say during my practice that if you can’t see the right drishti in an asana it means you’re not correctly aligned. I really like the thought of that applied to my writing: if I’ve written myself into a position where I lose my focus, then my story is no longer correctly aligned.

I think I’ve finally figured out the drishti for this novel. I’ve finally found what I’m supposed to be looking at.

In these last couple weeks it’s started to sink in just how ambitious this project is. It’s both terrifying and thrilling. I can’t stop wondering whether I’ll be able to pull it off — but if I do I think it’ll be one of the most important things I’ve ever done. This is the point of art, of writing. To challenge ourselves. To figure out what we really think and believe. To make something worth sharing.

This story I’m working on now is “the book of my heart,” as Nova Ren Suma would say. In 2010 when I first began writing this novel it was because I couldn’t stop thinking about my maternal grandmother, but the more I dig in with the writing the more I realize this story is about my parents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins. This story is about me and my relationship to all of them.

And maybe that’s why I gave it so much time to percolate…because I knew that I needed to figure that out. I’ve spent almost five years with it simmering in the back of my mind, occasionally rewriting a section, sometimes tinkering with a character. That’s how I know I have to tell this story — because I’ve been carrying it in my pocket all this time, unable to let it go.

I’m really enjoying how this novel is evolving the deeper I get into it — the story is changing quite a bit and I think it’s the lack of a rigid outline that’s giving me the opportunity to discover all this new stuff. This new way of writing is kind of scary and frustrating and feels way slower, but every breakthrough is incredibly rewarding.

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