Frustration is something I experience regularly in my life. Sometimes, specific events or people may add to those feelings, either on purpose or innocently. Over the years, I’ve played the juggler, precariously balancing the duties that have fallen to me and struggling to keep all of the balls in motion. I’ll admit, that many of those balls are of my own making, because of choices I’ve made.
Most frustrating, is the tendency of my duties to come before my passion. The need to write doesn’t complain if it doesn’t have clean socks. The muse never asks “what’s for dinner?” My characters rarely have voices louder than the ringing phone. And yet, that part of my soul demands to be expressed. The result of ignoring my voice manifests itself in depression, headaches, and other health problems.
I must write.
I came across a quote from Ernest Hemingway yesterday that has helped me put my writing life in perspective. Maybe I’m not the first frustrated writer.
“In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.”
So, with that in mind, I plan to welcome things that dull and blunt the instrument I write with. Posted here are the first lines of a novel I’m writing for Nanowrimo 2009. I normally write happy-ever-after books. This isn’t one of those, but I feel compelled to sharpen the rough blade caused by a horrific experience I had last December. I welcome any comments and apologize in advance for putting a damper on your mood.
From nice, by Carla Parsons
The man had been asleep in his chair for a long time. Longer than any other time. Maybe this was it. The day he’d feared.
He was so still, but then a bottle of vodka mixed with cranberry juice can do that. Make a person still, that is.
The boy leaned over him, listening for any slight sound. Air. Food gurgling. He tried to remember if the man had eaten. The plate next to his recliner was food encrusted.
But then he had been still a long time. Too long.
I can only take so much of that whetstone in a day, so I’m off to dull the instrument, and in the process, fill my pitcher. And having known the sorrow, I’m learning to treasure the joy.
Post by Carla P.