Heavy lifting inspiration from Ben.

3 Oct

This a large stick or small tree—depending on your perspective—entering one of the two lakes at Twin Lakes, Colorado, a mountain town near Leadville and Aspen. Last Sunday Tom, our good friend Mary Jo, our dog Galley and her dog Ben and I went to Twin Lakes to take one of our favorite hikes. The weather and scenery, filled with plenty of gold aspen leaves, were spectacular, but I found Ben to be my unusual source of inspiration.

Here’s Ben, delighted to haul the massive piece of wood onto the shore. Ben is the Will Rogers of retrieving, as he has never met a stick he didn’t like. For Ben, size doesn’t matter one iota. As I watched him, I thought about the daunting task I’m facing—revising my novel, now that I have all comments in from my readers. Sometimes I feel that, since the overall structure of my story is sound—for example, nobody felt that the reason the hero and heroine split up was implausible, which would have been a major tragedy for me—the revisions will be simple and easy. Kind of like a retrieving a normal-sized stick from a lake.

But sometimes, when I read all the comments all at once, I feel impossibly overwhelmed, that I am completely talentless and was an idiot to think someone would ever want to read a story I’ve written, let alone PAY to read a story I’ve written. That’s when I have to think of Ben and his beloved log.

Just as that log wasn’t going to retrieve itself, my story isn’t going to revise itself. The edits ahead of me are relatively minor, things like including more of the heroine’s past earlier on in the book. I’ve found that as I roll up my sleeves and dig in, I still love to write (thank God!). I still love my characters and the story. And I’m making progress, bit by bit, word by word, as I  figuratively drag my story onto the shore. I suppose you could say my writer’s tail is wagging. So thanks, Benny, for putting it all in perspective and reminding me that there’s no such thing as a stick that’s too big.

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