Friend Friday

Today’s guest: the warm and talented
 Amy Ludwig Vanderwater! 
I love her new book and know you will, too.

Writing as Two: Dreamer and Craftswoman
            Well, my first book, FOREST HAS A SONG, is out. 

 It is time to celebrate, but more so, it is time to snuggle into the next one, time to see what other useful dust bunnies I can find in my life.  For that is much of what I think writing is: making time to rummage around in the brain’s attic, shopping the soul’s garage sale, believing I’ll find a good deal in the flea market of the heart.  Knowing that if I wait and seek, there will be something I can clean up and use.

I do write much the way I shop, avoiding the new and shiny malls and instead poking around thrift and antique stores.  Rather than heading to a plaza, I trust that I will find enchanted surprises in tucked mom-and-pop shops and other story-places.  And why would writing be different?  For as much as I believe in the importance of craft, I also believe in the importance of trust.  And so, often, I write without knowing where the pen will lead, simply filling pages to discover what’s under that sheet.  I don’t know where the pen will lead, but I keep writing anyway.   
I write as two people.  The first me is the dreamer, blurring her eyes, trying to find something beautiful, mystical, or surprising. This first me feels a flash of love or discovery and a shiver-tingle when rushing down the page like a waterfall, only half-knowing what she is writing.  This first me listens to other voices, acting sometimes as secretary more than writer. This first me is so in love with the goldfinch outside my window right now that she wants to carry it in her pocket forever.

The second me is the craftswoman who sometimes laughs at her other half, “A goldfinch in your pocket!  Are you crazy?”  This second me is practical, weeding out clichés born of passion, poor structure choices, and mismatched meters.  She comes through with her hammer and her broom, steadying and tidying the glorious mess left by her partner.

And so they seesaw, back-and-forth, like two sisters holding hands while they run through a summer meadow. One sees the fuzzy bees as flying flowers; the other is careful not to be stung.  They need each other and they love each other too.  We writers have to be kind to ourselves, no matter what those selves may be.

Want to listen to Amy reading this post? Click below! 
Be sure to check out Amy’s blog.

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