It wasn’t the one that dumped 6+ inches of snow in our yard, though that contributed, in its way. My jackpot arrived when my husband took some time off as he recovered from surgery, and the weather and the holiday turned it all into an unplanned island of seclusion.
And many good hours of writing time.
“I might say the core of all my writing was probably the five free years I had on the farm down the road a mile or two from Derry Village toward Lawrence. The only thing we had was plenty of time and seclusion. I couldn’t have figured on it in advance. I hadn’t that kind of foresight. But it turned out as right as a doctor’s prescription.” (Robert Frost, Selected Letters)
A right prescription, indeed; a writer’s Thanksgiving-week horn of plenty.
This unanticipated largesse mushroomed when a kind photographer friend I met in the course of my novel’s research sent a hefty stash of historic photos from my book’s world, dozens of shots of its best-known character. For good measure, he also enclosed a book, long out of print, that I’d despaired of ever finding.
Turns out that those photos, and that book, carried the “next piece” for where the book wanted to go.
Sometimes, I almost feel embarrassed as I recognize that through its nearly 400 pages, this is exactly how the elements of the book have arrived, or, I should say, presented themselves. It may not be the way a lot of people go about this. It’s certainly not the rhythm or style of NaNoWriMo. But it’s how it works for me.
The kind friend who gathered those lovely surprises and sent them to me told me that he needed things to do as he recovers from surgery. What a wavelength of synchronicity life has us both on – and, as Frost said, we “couldn’t have figured on it in advance”.
Maybe that’s the magic of it. When I know that I’ll have the time and space to write, I often swing between unhelpful extremes. I get all “important” about it, shoveling on a mountain of expectations so that I feel buried under before I even start. (And I’m plenty creative about ways not to start.) Or, like those who win lotteries or receive a big inheritance, I start giving my resources away as though it’s somehow unseemly to find myself with so much of them.
“I hadn’t that kind of foresight.”
In Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s novel-in-progress, Anna Dahlberg is about to discover that her mother shared a secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, and its trail leads straight to her own destiny.
Find more images at: http://pinterest.com/phyllisedgerlyr/