Self-Editing.

I really need to write more regularly. I mean, I have my internships and NicerNews, all of which force me to write on the daily basis. But my personal writing is what always gets neglected. I’ve been working on three novels for the past year or so (one I actually started when I was still in high school!), but none of them are even close to being done.

I have a really hard time writing without editing myself, which I think has become a bit of a downfall for my fiction. I’ll write a paragraph, edit the hell out of it and then get frustrated/tired because I’m questioning every period, semi-colon and adjective on the page. I’m constantly chanting to myself to "show, not tell." But it makes me not want to write because showing is so much harder than telling.

What I seem to forget is that I could write out a scene in its entirety and then go back to make it better when I’m done. That I can move the action forward and worry about the details later. I need to accept that its ok to write "She was angry" just to get through a page and to later go back and change it to something more descriptive, like how her fists were shaking as she jammed them into her pockets and stormed away. I seem to forget I can edit AFTER I write.

I complicate the writing process for myself… and I know that. And while I realize I need to stop constantly self-editing, its really hard to.

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Nicer News Article: But this Love is Serious!

Literary and art inspired tattoos are becoming more and more commonplace as teens and twenty-somethings embrace various forms of artistic expression.  From photography to paintings, poetry to prose, young adults are not only being inspired by the creativity of artists past and present, but many want that inspiration permanently etched into their skin…

http://www.nicernews.com/2009/10/but-this-love-is-serious/

What do you love?

What do you love? he asked me.

The sky, I said. The sky.

All big and blue

All wide and bright

Holding the day

While it hides the night.

I love the sky’s eyes: the moon, the sun.

I love its body; light and cloudy, or dark and oh, so starry.

I love its mind. And how it can’t decide what it wants to be, what it wants to look like, and how it can change so quickly.

What do you love? he asked me again.

Yellow, I said. The color yellow.

All unapologetic

All unstoppable and loud

In sunflowers and sun-showers

Making itself known in a crowd.

I love yellow’s energy: it keeps going, and going…

I love its joy; its relentless, contagious joy.

I love its warmth. And how I can feel it, anytime I see anything yellow.

What do you love? he asked me once more.

Peanut butter, I said. Peanut butter.

All thick and smooth

All bitter and sweet

On sandwiches, on crackers

Wherever my tongue and it can meet.

I love peanut butter’s messiness: all over my fingertips and in the corners of my mouth.

I love its innocence; a small, sticky piece of my childhood.

I love its substance. And how it sticks to the roof of my mouth, like a particularly unbelievable secret.

What do you love? he asked me, one last time.

You, I said. You.

All smooth and sweet, like peanut butter.

All loud and proud, like yellow.

And all indecisive, just like the sky.

I love your vices

your voice

your lips

your lingering hands…

You’re messy and hilarious and imperfectly perfect.

And that’s why I love you most of all.

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Rooted in Landon

Mia was hiding.  She had stuffed herself between the two big trees in her backyard—knees to her chest, arms wrapped around her legs, her small hands gripping her elbows like they were the only things holding her together. These two trees had started to grow together when she was about 5 years old, the roots of each twisting together underground while the branches several feet above did the same.  Over the years the trunks of both trees had thickened, and where there was once a path wide enough for a full-grown man to pass through, there was now barely room for a skinny fourteen-year-old girl to stoop between them.  Mia looked up at the blurred patches of red and yellow leaves wondering where she’d left her glasses this time.  She wondered if Lan would find her.  He usually did; all he had to do was look out of his window. Her chest was heaving heavily with the weight of her too-fast breathing and cool beads of sweat were sliding from her forehead to her chin.

Between these trees was the only place she felt safe.

When she turned seven and her mom didn’t show up for her birthday party, she came here.  She’d sat here for hours that day, cradled by soil and grass instead of her mother’s arms, refusing to blow out the candles on her birthday cake unless her mom showed up, which she never did.  Lan sat with her, tossing stones and chewing on blades of grass while she cried, and thumb-wrestling her whenever she stopped. Landon Brody always sat with her.

The first time Mia saw her dad cry she came here.  Her older sister Celia came home from school that day a lot later than usual and told their dad to sit down.  Celia swept her thick black hair away from her face and said she went to the nurse because she wasn’t feeling well.  She said the nurse asked her about her period and that was when she realized she hadn’t had it in 2 months.  Celia looked down, her hair falling like a curtain at the end of a play, and told their dad she was pregnant.  And when their dad started crying, Mia ran out to her trees and cried too.  Dappled in the mixture of shade and sunlight from the overarching branches, Lan was the one who gave her his t-shirt to wipe her face with and told her what pregnant meant.

The year Mia was twelve and got her period she had sat in this spot.  Celia had told her all about it, so she knew exactly what was happening when she found the red spot on the back of her pajamas one morning, but she knew she couldn’t tell Lan about this.  So when he spotted her and came over, it was the first time she wouldn’t tell him what was wrong. When he asked, Mia leaned over as if to share a secret, and kissed him.  And covered by the dark blue sky of a much-too-early morning, between two trees that knew all of her secrets, Mia had her first, second and third kisses with the boy who knew all of them too.

Mia sat panting and sweating between her trees, waiting for Lan. Mixed roots and branches—pasts and futures that could never be untangled.  The wind passing through the leaves of one to the leaves of the other, just like whispered secrets.  Shared light, shared darkness, forever standing side-by side.  These trees would keep her calm until Lan got there, reminding her of their shared past and future, their whispered secrets, their light and dark, their love.  She and Lan were just like these trees, she thought to herself.  Then she heard the unmistakable crunchy sound of his footsteps on fallen leaves.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.