Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Truth and Beauty

A quick thanks for all the great comments you left about the Yellowstone blog.  Even if I didn't have a chance to respond, I read your comments and loved them.  My blogger friends were especially generous about stopping by, especially since there was no reciprocation while I was off running from bears and bison!

Now we're back and today is the first day of school.  Can you hear the choir of angels singing joyously?  No?  Maybe, that's just me.  Truth be told, I kind of miss my entourage of two when they go back to school.  Today is all about easing them back into the routine with Back-to-School Breakfast (blueberry crumb cake) and figuring out where their lockers are (we missed the orientation last week).  Today I will kiss them good bye and then come home to an uninterrupted six hour block of time.

This is good news for fans of Losing Beauty because it means I now have time to get my tushy in gear and finish Losing Hope.  There's also more good news coming later this week for would-be fans of Losing Beauty, i.e. those who have been waiting for a print version, but you'll have to wait just a little bit longer I'm afraid (and not just because my publisher might blow a gasket if he discovered I'd buried a big announcement in the last sentence of the second paragraph of my blog). 

And now, finally, this is where I come around to the title of this blog post.

Truth and Beauty.

It's a book by Ann Patchett.  It also happens to be what I'm reading for book club this month.  It's a story of the friendship that develops between two writers, Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy.  I love it, but I'm a writer and so this kind of story is right up my alley.  I can't wait to hear what the rest of my book club thinks.  More importantly, and the reason I wanted to talk about the book is because, in the space of a couple sentences Ms. Patchett has set me free.  She discusses the dread most writers feel before they begin to write.  The way they will do almost anything (dishes, laundry, organize their desk, talk on the phone) before they finally drag themselves down to the dirty business of writing. 

I read her words and they were like a mini-epiphany.  Everywhere I look, writers are talking about their love of writing.  It's the first thing they do in the morning, their treasured time when they are their happiest.  The best thing they do all day.    

Whenever I read these kinds of sweeping statements all I can think is what the hell is wrong with me?  Writing isn't my treasured time, unless you substitute the word tortured for treasured.  It's work, and it's the kind of work that I often postpone until I can't postpone it any longer.  True, there are days when I'm compelled to write, but the days when I have to drag myself to the computer and write five hundred words that I know will be thrown out in the editing process are much more common.

So, thank you Ms. Patchett!  For writing a great book and for letting me know that, at the very least, I'm in good company as I alphabetize my cookbooks or send out another Tweet, just one more Tweet, in a last ditch attempt to avoid writing. 


Hart Johnson said...

So interesting. We are all different I think... Which is good. Though you aren't the firsst person I've heard to describe writing as torturous--compulsion rather than passion.

I love it. I adore being set loose on a first draft. I even have come to love editing... though I'm not so keen on several of the periphery pieces (synopses, queries, the periodic doubt).

My kids started school today too and I like the routine, other than the chaos in the morning...

Sarah Tokeley said...

Some days I love it, some days I hate it and some days I think I should train to be a lion tamer instead, but I keep on doing it :-)

One day I might even let someone read it!

Johanna Garth said...

Hart, this is why you are such a rock star! I wish I thought about writing like that but most days it's an effort to start and an effort to stop.

Sarah, if you were a lion tamer you would have SOO much to write about ;)

Jo Schaffer said...

Blueberry yumminess and a great book. Heaven.
Sounds like a book I should check out. (=

Johanna Garth said...

Jo! You're back!! I missed you...hope you had a great summer.