Thursday, September 15, 2011

Patience, pigs, and waiting for Act 2 to end

I found this quote yesterday, in an interview author Lisa Tucker gave for Psychology Today:

"If you write without an outline, without even a sense of where the novel is headed -- as I do -- you have to have faith that your characters will take you where you need to go. And you have to be patient, because if you try to push them in a direction that you're more comfortable with, they just might rebel and decide not to tell you their stories."

I immediately copied it & then pasted it into a new blog post, not even sure why it struck me. I guess I'm thinking a lot about living without an outline lately (because really, that's what memoir writing is: you have to wait for the actual story to unfold, and for a long time you're just stuck somewhere towards the end of the second act, waiting for THE MOMENT WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGES) and how for most of what really matters, you simply cannot push.

I know people who push. I've been that person. The results are never, ever what we hope for, even when we're able to gloss them up and make it all look pretty on the outside. (The phrase "lipsick on a pig" comes to mind, and is making me giggle...)

It's such a fine line, really, between the times we should push ahead and the times when we should be patient and see how life unfolds. None of us really knows what we're doing. Sometimes it's fun to remember that :)

And the results of patience can be spectacular: Lisa has a new novel out, called The Winters in Bloom. I've been waiting for it since I first got word of it in April, as I simply adore the huge range of life she fits into her books. She might be the most diverse author I know. So now that it's here, I'm saving it for my travels next week, as I don't always sleep well in new places and I know her writing will keep me company if I'm up into the wee hours of the night.

It's nice to have good stories to keep us company--and remind us that the second act never lasts forever!--when we're waiting. In the meantime, let's keep the lipstick off the pigs.

Here's to a spiffy, unpushy weekend!

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