Syringa in my sister’s yard above Lewiston, Idaho.
Recently, driving to Lewiston or Chehalis or Mt. Vernon, I saw a woman lunging a horse in a round corral. It was a young horse, a paint, and I imagined it as a filly, though (driving along the freeway) I couldn’t really tell. It looked so simple. And then I thought of how it isn’t simple. Training a horse, writing a book, both begin with simple steps that don’t much resemble riding or writing. But one has to get up in the morning and take those steps. Eventually, they begin to accumulate. Eventually it can be called riding. It can be called writing.
I have been getting up every morning — every morning I’m at home — and scribbling, waiting for the muse to strike, hoping my life hasn’t become too busy to allow her access. Yesterday, thinking of that young woman in the corral with her paint filly, I decided to try retyping my novel from the beginning.
I cut ten pages from the prologue. I typed twenty pages. I cut a lot of phrases such as “she thought” and “it seemed to her.” I think it’s working. This morning I reread aloud everything I’d typed yesterday. I typed in more changes, and then I typed ten more pages.
“[I]t seems to me nonetheless that a book you write, like a dream you dream, can have more healing and truth and wisdom in it at least for yourself than you feel in any way responsible for.” -Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets, 22