This post is not about quilts. It is about writing. The Friendship Quilts is the name of the novel I finished yesterday. Finished the third draft which was largely a matter editing. Part of the reason I have lately been so concentrated on bad grammar and bad writing is that I've been fighting that battle with myself for two months now. I care about how sentences read; I know I sometimes write weak sentences. I have been weeding out "waffle" phrases that make statements less clear than they should be. I sometimes don't think clearly enough to make paragraphs coherent. Rewriting of this sort is much slower than the original writing. In the first draft the story is simply flowing; in this draft I stop, start, rewrite, reconsider, words, commas, phrases.
I fight the simple blind spots, the typos that are so easy to overlook when the fingers have typed in instead of on, than instead of then, when a comma has been left out or a quotation mark. These matter. Very lucky people have careful, erudite secretaries; most writers have to do it themselves. [I envy those the men who have dedicated wives who take on that role.] This kind of "writing" is drudgery but it is also an opportunity to buff the hardwood floor and make it shine.
Of course I do not know that the novel tells the story perfectly. [Is it linoleum instead of hardwood?] I know I have blind spots. Perhaps sometime I'll be told by an agent or editor "This doesn't work" -- about only certain sections, not the whole, I fervently hope.
The novel makes me happy because it came quickly and seems a gift I have given myself for so many years of working at and caring about the writer's craft. The story, the characters, spewed forth like a decorative fountain turned on after being turned off during the winter. An apt analogy because I had not worked on a novel for probably ten or twelve years. And now --? Well, actually, I must read through once more because of those sneaky hidden typos [and, as I find them, no doubt I'll find other missed opportunities to be clearer]. But beyond the novel now comes the part I hate: trying to write a good synopsis and a good query and then the waiting and then the rejection. Then an amended query and another rejection ... after a while, maybe a tentative "maybe" or even "yes" ... or not ...
If I make a quilt, when the binding is on and the label too, I can sleep under it and stay warm. I can share the novel with friends who will say nice things and I will appreciate their kindness but my goal has always been to communicate with strangers from whom I expect nothing but that they read what I write. I am always happy to give away my quilts, they are usually accepted with gratitude. The world is such that giving away a novel is almost impossible, and so the rejections ... sigh.
Kannadasa Dasan wtites - MOTHER EARTH Who can write her worth? The world of sacred birth My lovely mother earth! Young and old –please arise And sing unto the space Wonder of her ...
17 hours ago