This is the Sentinel, a heron who most often sits in the big leaf maple that overhangs the bank at Shangri-Lar. We found him, brooding, down the beach on a post-New Year’s walk. I could relate: I’ve been in a brooding mood, too, over the novel that’s not getting written.
So I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to face the feared revision of the dreaded Second Novel. In doing so, I feel a lot like my sweet friend, E, here, high above the ground, unsteady on a slick, narrow log. Unlike E, I don’t have a parent waiting at the end of the driftwood log to catch me lest I fall. This photo reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, from A Mouse and His Child — “You’ve got to take those daring leaps or you’re nowhere.” So I’m leaping back into the literary life — you know, where one actually writes instead of doing business and promoting and answering emails. But this resolution has a gentle twist to it (no pun intended) as I’m taking heed of something our yoga instructor said: What if, instead of seeing all the cracks and flaws in your life, you saw the opportunities?
So, I’m out on a limb with this revision. So what? That gives me 360 degrees of possibilities!
I must confess, I am even more resolute about my resolution because of a New Year’s gift from Mr. Random House: an ad for the Yearling edition of Hattie Big Sky in the New York Times Book Review, Sunday January 4. Mr. RH apparently has the patience of Job when it comes to waiting for writers to turn in promised manuscripts, even if they’re of the dreaded second novel variety. But he’s a crafty fellow — he knows that guilt works! So I’m climbing back out on that limb and getting back to work. Right now.
I can’t resist commenting, because I haven’t checked in on your blog in a while and then here the day I was contemplating a photo of a kid leaping of a bench, I see your reference to a “leap.”
The kid in the photo kind of looked like he was about to fly off into the sky. He also kind of looked like he was going to land flat on his face. But his expression really had me believing the former, not the latter. The photo made me think about my attitude. When I’m at my worst, leaping ends up feeling like falling. When I’m at best, leaping feels like flying. My wish for you: flight in your leap, Kirby. Keep the can-do spirit. Cheers and happy new year.
I sometimes wonder, too, if the only difference between falling and flying is our attitude! Thanks for your New Year’s wish and back at you: flight for all of us struggling to capture stories on the page, whether with words or images.
Dear Kirby, I wish for the dreaded second novel to become a joy. We are second dreaded novel sisters! I’m working on mine, too. I love the analogy of falling and flying. May your 2009 soar!
Oh, and I’m so pleased you have this new blog – I will post it on my YA feed!