Monday, January 6, 2014

Niederbipp Revisited

First off, Happy New Year! I am excited for 2014.
I have never been a goal setter, mainly because I fear failure, but also because I fear missing out on the random bits of magic that happen on the trail that may be missed if I am too focused on a distant goal. So, my alternative has long been to make sure I am anxiously engaged in a good cause, all the time, and then everything just seems to fall into place, where and when it is supposed to. I have found that if I will Proceed as the way opens, things always work out.
I mentioned last year that I have found a literary agent who wants to represent me with the Niederbipp Books. She felt like the first book lagged a little and could be polished up, so I got started last September with cleaning it up in an effort to speed it up. I hoped to be able to do that, finish Put a Cherry On Top, make pots for my open house, and have time to sleep. I hate to admit it, but I was completely delusional. Something had to give. So, worried about making pots and having a book for people at Christmas, and I set aside my editing for a while. The day after Christmas, I picked it back up and have been working on it, here and there, through the Holidays/School break. The kids went back to school today and I buckled down.
It's interesting to me, reading through Remembering Isaac now, nearly five years since it was first printed. I have learned a lot about writing and punctuation and feel like I have found my voice, where before I was trying to fake it, or at least figure it out. I shake my head at some of the sentence structure and wonder what the heck I was thinking. And then I remember what I was thinking—that it had been 11 years since I had started writing and I had written it a least a dozen times, and that I was trying to hold onto pet sentences that really should have been tossed. I loved the story back then, and now, after working and reworking some of the chapters, I love it even more. Like my agent said, "The other books read so much faster, but in Remembering, I see Ben Behunin learning how to write." She nailed it of course. I wasn't a writer. I am becoming a writer. I'm not sure you can be a writer without  the journey to get there. And even then you may forever be embarrassed with what you put out there—that baby of yours  may in fact be a very ugly baby.
But I am enjoying this process of revisiting Niederbipp. I have come upon several spots already that I have had to remember the inspiration that came to me to write what I did, when I did, not knowing that it would be important two books and a thousand pages later. It has made me grateful I was humble enough to listen, and has left me hoping I am humble enough to keep listening.
And so I don't have any goals for 2014, but I'm busy, trying to keep anxiously engaged in a good cause; trying to be ready to proceed as the way opens. I have faith it will, and am ready to admit that it may not be in any direction I have previously considered. In the meantime, I will work and wait, and be happy.
I received an anonymous gift for Christmas. Some nice reader, upon hearing in my annual newsletter that I suffer from seasonal depression, sent me a SunTorch, light therapy. I used it for the first time today after feeling like the gray of January was ganging up on me. I am not sure how much different I feel after one session, but I will keep on keepin' on. If you are reading this and are the anonymous giver of this gift, thank you. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness. I will keep you posted.
Cheers to 2014. Viva Niederbipp!

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