Friday, November 14, 2008

I should be writing

It may seem odd, but I am more writer than painter. I know I have painted hundreds of pictures, sold most of them, not for vast sums, but at reasonable return, considering I hardly consider painting "work".

I've thought about this many times, painting away, knowing full well that there is a completed 400 page novel sitting in my computer waiting for its final re-write.

We call it avoidance, most writers. We do the laundry, have to wash up, must get the groceries,vacuum, dust, check one more email, color our hair, phone sister, clean the cat litter tray - all those absolutely essential things that keep us from our desks - excuses, excuses. I am not a cleanliness freak. I vacuum a couple of times a week (cat fur, mostly), dust here and there. I keep my living room tidy, make my bed every morning, wash up after most meals. All of that doesn't take long, so the writing looms. That's when I get the urge to paint.

If you think about it, painting is story-telling. For me, it's an immediate way to show what I'm thinking, where my head is. You don't have to wait for it to come out in paperback, could take years. Most of my narrative about a picture is longish. I'm telling a short, short, very short story. You remember "Mary-Alice sat on a pin. Mary-Alice stood." Well, I think that was her name. Short, very short story.

I guess I am saying, finally saying, is that I really should get back to my writing. My characters are alive and well in my head, asking "What is this woman doing? Why doesn't she just get us to an acceptable conclusion once and for all? Why aren't we OUT THERE?"

Well, I certainly don't need an analyst to tell me what's wrong. Once the book is out there, it's no longer mine. It's theirs. Yours. Not mine. Like your children going to college, leaving home. It is so hard to deal with. I survived the children's leaving, so I can survive my novel going as well. But not yet. Not quite yet.

I always have copies of my paintings.

I'll think about it some more and get back to you. I have to go back to my painting.


Heather Wardell said...

So well said, Fran. While I'm not a mother, I imagine there aren't too many letters sent back after your kids leave, letters that say "not right for us at this time" or "I like this book but I don't think I can sell it". :)

But I figure I DO still have my book even after I start sending it to agents. I have the version that made me cry when I finished it because I was so happy to have achieved what I'd been working on for so long. Even if every agent on the planet rejects it, I love it still.

I'm glad you found and commented on my blog: I love yours and will be following it in a few seconds! You asked if I publish excerpts of my books: I do, and they're on my blog's right-hand side. I figure why not let the people see 'em, right? :)

Fran Caldwell said...

Ah, Heather, how lovely to hear from you.

Of course, I'll always have my novels (two) with me, but it's that SHARING thing. Dumb, because why else would we write?