Once again, I find there is so much good stuff in a writing book (last time it was Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages) that I am tempted to stretch my commentary to two months. I find gems--many of them-- in every one of Jane Yolen's chapters.
For instance, in Chapter 2 (The Mystery That Is Writing), she writes
Fiction is more than a recitation of facts or author embellishments. It is reality surprised. It shakes us up and makes us see familiar things in new ways. Fiction is like wrestling with angels--you do not expect to win, but you do expect to come away from the experience changed.
|Rembrandt's "Jacob Wrestling with an Angel"|
Finally, she talks about an editor who taught her the most about writing novels, "a wonderful woman named Linda Zuckerman."
Until I worked with Linda, I wrote my novels like a nervous tourist visiting an untidy continent, map and guide book in hand. I was so careful to tread on the properly outlined paths, I never saw the life by the roadside. I gazed in awe at the cathedral; I never noticed the half-starved cats on the cathedral grounds... Linda gave me permission to breathe, to take time in my books, to look about the landscape--both outer and inner--and finally to trust that the reader would follow, even at a leisurely pace, where I led.(When I googled Linda Zuckerman, I found that she lives in Portland! What a mecca of talent this town is.)
Wrestling with angels.
Noticing the half-starved cats on the cathedral grounds.
I admit that sometimes my writing feels like I'm in a race. It is good to have Jane Yolen, via Linda Zuckerman, give me permission to breathe.
Hope your writing week is going well. Spare a thought for the people of Brisbane and Queensland, Australia (another city in which I have lived) as they undergo terrible flooding. It makes Portland's current sogginess feel completely small potatoes. See you here for more "Take Joy" next week.