Ant-Shadows

If the light is right, even an ant casts a long shadow.

This is very deep, I know, for a Monday. But isn’t it cool how the ant-shadow has more visual substance than the ant itself?

I feel certain this means something.

It’s funny to me that, after seriously pursuing writing for about 14 years now, I’m still discovering new things about my process. It shouldn’t surprise me, because that is one way to define an art over a craft or simple production. An art should evolve and change over time, growing as the artist grows. Craft or production is simply producing the same thing over and over.

The martial artists talk about this. In simple exercise, you might engage in the same routine over and over. A martial art, such as Tai Chi or Pakua, should change over time as the practitioner’s understanding changes, as new aspects are discovered and old ones discarded as no longer useful.

I’ve never been much of a reviser. I produce pretty clean drafts, which has always enabled me to skate by with the revising.

Yeah, I’m lazy.

But this new novel, The Body Gift, I knew I’d have to revise. It’s complex, with many layers. I also think it’s pretty good and I want it to really shine. As soon as I finished, I planned to turn around and revise.

And I just could not do it.

This surprised me, because when I have revised stuff before, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Print out. Read out loud. Proof read. Incorporate reader comments. Bim bam boom. Not like it was rocket science or anything.

It was worse. Which is saying something because I am not an engineer by any stretch.

I found that I’d really drained my well and had nothing left to work with. I had no choice but to put the manuscript in the proverbial drawer. My readers had it anyway. I had other things to do. Fine then.

Now I’ve discovered that, after spending a month in the dark drawer, the book is ready for revising. I have perspective on it that I lacked before. Gone are all the swirly, lovely, pleased feelings I swam in while writing. Like wine fermented in the bottle, the book had ripened into something of its own. Something I can work with.

Kind of neat, actually.

All from just a different change in the light.

4 Replies to “Ant-Shadows”

  1. Cool. I can't wait to read this book, Jeffe. And I love the ant photo. It's a bit heavy this early on a Monday morning, but I'll be thinking about it all day.

  2. Thanks, Linda – Perspective is an amazing thing, indeed!

    Always happy to strain your brain a little bit first thing, Keena. And you are welcome to read the book any time!

  3. Ever wonder what the story does in the drawer while we're busy getting objective distance? I imagine it's something akin to a Chinese Fire Drill, where all the words run around the pages and reorganize themselves. By the time that "fermented" tale resurfaces, there are segments when I think, "Damn, I am a GENIUS" and then others where I wonder if I had failed remedial English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.