Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tips from the Tops - Stay Loose

My pal Gwen brought me a new little book the other day. It's called Salt Lines and is edited by Lorri Neilsen Glenn and Carsten Knox (with illustrations by our dear pal Kathy Kaulbach). In it are fifty-five meditations on writing by playwrights, novelists, poets, journalists, song-writers and memorists. The first day she brought it to me I was not receptive - it wasn't time for me to feel better after my rejection. I require a full twenty-four hours of moaning and bitchin'.

Yesterday, after I did my writing, I lay on my office bed (everyone should have one) and read it straight through. I'd read Gwen's already - it is an ode to our sacred writing Tuesdays and I loved it. I found it deeply satisfying to dive into these essays on the creative. They aren't long, none more than two pages, most just one but in them each writer has tried to sum up what advice or thought has been the most helpful to them.

Today I thought I'd feature some of their advice in Tips from the Tops.

"My favourite bit of advice comes from a woman who fell more than 2,000 metres down the face of a mountain and lived to tell the tale. As her body bumped and slid and freefell from one crag to another, she told herself, 'stay loose.' And that's what saved her. I have no doubt that as I hurtle painfully down the slope of my writing, it will save me too."
Top: Anna Quon - poet and novelist.

How it Works in My Life;  Maybe this one grabbed me so significantly because my wip features free falling, skate boarding, the Grand Canyon and a life out of balance - but I think it is because we don't know what is going to happen. I might add - stay loose and enjoy the view - it might be your last. I also think it is important to stay loose from outcome desire, from your editing self until your first draft is written, from the opinion of others, from fear, from hope. Right now I am trying to stay loose from the fear of not knowing what happens in my story and just letting it come, listening without judgement, finding my way like the blind traveller I am. How does this sound to you - this staying loose thing?

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Yes! I needed to hear that! Such good advice. We really do have to be willing to be flexible.