My favorite scene in “Stand by Me” is the one in which we see the main character’s friend, Vern digging under his house. Gordie tells us that Vern had buried a jar of pennies at the start of summer but that his mother had thrown away the map he’d drawn to find it again. And so, Vern spent the better part of the summer digging holes under his porch, looking for the lost coins.
It takes a lot for me to put myself into the “blocked” category where writing is concerned. Sometimes the writing is that lost jar of pennies and I’m digging, furiously, to find it. Lately, if I’m not writing though it’s because I’m unable to break away from the crazy of my life long enough to put words down on paper or laptop. And then even when I have the chance my crazy life is bound to climb over the couch at any moment and demand I make it a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off. So I write in “dribs and drabs” as Anne Lamott suggests and I knock out a decent few sentences there and again. I’m happy with that.
When I’m unable to put something down I re-read what I’ve already written. When that feels indulgent or useless I read things someone else has written. It’s all about words in and words out and breathing and grace. Sometimes posts that are few and far between here on Mrs Metaphor are a result of this lack of time or energy or motivation.
Right now I feel as though I’m putting all my pennies into one jar in that I am up to my neck in a manuscript that has a deadline attached to it. By early Fall I’ll be handing it over to a publisher but right now I’m busy pouring my life into it and I mean that. It is quite literally the story of my life and as I write it day after day I find I question why anyone would want to read about this pasty-faced, sullen Catholic girl growing up on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio. I question ever sentence, every comma. The other day I stared at a semi-colon placement so long it nearly gave me a migraine.
It’s not about the semi colons and it’s not really about the frequency of posting I hope. Stay tuned, sports fans. There’s a jar of pennies being filled. I won’t bury it under the porch when I’m done. I’ll open the lid and pass it around.