Friday, May 19, 2006

Stay Out of the Poppy Field and Head for the Rainbow

DONNA [10:47 A.M.]: I always forget how challenging it is to plot a novel until we start working on a new one. Maybe it's selective amnesia.
Virginia [10:49 A.M.]: Of course it is. Do you think if we remembered we'd do it again? It' s like what my mother always says about childbirth..."it's the hardest pain to bear but the easiest to forget." Birthing a book isn't exactly the same, but it's close.
DONNA [10:55 A.M.]: Clearly. But I have also forgotten I need the epidural. Oh, I guess that's why I have been fighting a serious case of the munchies. I always eat when I'm wearing out my brain cells. Did I say fighting--actually, the munchies have been winning.
Virginia [10:57 A.M.]: You? An epidural? Tell me it isn't so. Aren't you the one who's always telling me that the pain isn't too bad? You're the one with the high pain threshold. Or is the "epidural" analogy a compromise? 'Cause you know I'd want to be knocked out. Wake me up when it's over!
DONNA [11:06 A.M.]: I'm far too nosy--I mean curious-- to be knocked out during anything. I'm the one who's had a heart procedure where I was awake and watching the monitor while they went surfing around in my ventricles looking for the bad spots. Who needs reality TV? But on the book front, I always think I should be able to find the story faster. That all the twists and turns should reveal themselves in a logical, timely fashion. Then I'm truly stressed when it doesn't go like that.
Virginia [11:11 A.M.]: And I get stressed because I know it doesn't go like that...I actually KNOW the story comes in little pieces and that we somehow put them together and end up with a book. We NEVER know all the answers at the beginning. But I think we spend so much time talking about the last book we've done---managing the talking points, answering questions which always happens such a long time from the beginning of the process. So when we start a new book we think we should know all the things we did about the previous one except that our perception of what we knew and when we knew it has been shaped by all the time between.
DONNA [11:16 A.M.]: I guess. It's a contradiction really, but I have to force myself to relax and let the ideas flow. Float really. And keep my mind quiet enough to hear them bubbling to the surface. You know how good I am at relaxing. Not!
Virginia [11:17 A.M.]: About as good as I am about holding in my feelings. NOT!
Do you believe the writers who say "the whole story just came to me one day and then it wrote itself?" Because I don't...believe them that is
DONNA [11:20 A.M.]: Either I'm not that talented or my muse is in Fiji without me.
DONNA [11:26 A.M.]: But I love the feeling when a piece of the story crystallizes and presents itself to me--like a gift. It's such a relief, a release. Then it feels like, "of course." Like it's always been there.
Virginia [11:29 A.M.]: I think it's the selective memory thing again. We all have some strain of it. We don't remember how the story got started at all. But it always involves process/progress. It has to. You can't feel or ascertain the nuances or subtleties or "moments" of a story in an instant. I don't believe you can feel that until you are in it.
DONNA [11:49 A.M.]: And the very first notes from all of our books never resemble the finished novel--not even close. People have different occupations, different partners, different family situations, different genders. . .
Virginia [11:51 A.M.]: And I think it will always be that way. You know how we always tell people who say they want to write but don't know where to begin that "you just have to put something down?" It's because it's true.
DONNA [11:53 A.M.]: I'm just glad some of the panic has subsided--for the moment. There'll be more.
Virginia [11:54 A.M.]: Ya think? Panic, stress, the big empty creative hole, quicksand, dead ends, detours, all of these things are waiting for us
DONNA [11:55 A.M.]: Lions, and tigers and bears--oh my! Just stay out of the poppy field and keep heading for the rainbow.
Virginia [11:56 A.M.]: No poppies? Dag. You're no fun. But the rainbow it is. What I need now is a nice pair of glittery red shoes
DONNA [11:57 A.M.]: You can always find an excuse for some new shoes!
Virginia [11:57 A.M.]: Yes. Breathing is a good reason. Note that I say reason, not excuse. Friday is a good reason. Because they're there is the best reason---especially since I have no interest in climbing Everest! And before you say it...NO I don't have a pair of glittery red ones already!
DONNA [11:59 A.M.]: I'm gonna go find my flip flops and head for the yellow brick road.
Virginia [12:00 P.M.]: Equal opportunity footwear! This is America after all.
DONNA [12:01 P.M.]: Because sometimes we each get to be the decider.
Virginia [12:01 P.M.]: Isn't that Decider with a capital D? Anyway I'll meet you on the YBR!
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:32 PM

2 Comments:

Blogger The Foxx said...

"Do you believe the writers who say "the whole story just came to me one day and then it wrote itself?" Because I don't...believe them that is"


I totally agree. And i would also like to say that I am so happy to hear that you guys are working on a new novel. I'm so excited and I cant wait to read it. I am still struggling through the process of getting my agent to find a buyer for my book. But I can't wait to be where you guys are! Keep struggling through the beginning. You after a while, it becomes so much fun! Brittiany

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

I would like to know if you guys are still working on the book you discussed at the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta last year. I am talking about the one in which you show the places that some of our favorite writers write. I thought that was a very good idea nd I was really looking forward to it.

2:20 PM  

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