Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why a string of pebbles?

I have a unique sense of fashion and art. Don't we all? I've never seen a diamond I've desired (at least until I learned it rains, or rather hails, diamonds on Neptune and Uranus - that I would love to see!) but there's something about a string of pearls that I find irresistible. Pearls, of course, are another creature's solution to a problem, and an irritating problem at that. What a great skill to possess, to be able to make pearls when something gets under your skin!

When I was a girl, I was a bit of a wild thing. I preferred to spend my time outdoors climbing trees, riding bikes, and catching frogs while the wind tangled my hair beyond what any normal hairbrush could tame. Of course, this was if I didn't already have my nose in a book. Unlike me, my grandmother was a polished, well-traveled, dignified sort of person who knew how to eat at a table set with three silver forks and could finish the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen. But she also shared my love for nature. On our walks she would pick up a rock here or there and turn them into gleaming polished stones at home with her tumbler. I was always amazed to see such shiny and smooth objects emerge when what went in was dull and rough around the edges. "Dull and rough around the edges" are pretty good descriptors of myself as a girl and may still be true (although life seems to be a pretty good tumbler so I hope with time I too become a little more polished).

I view my writing in much the same way. First drafts are chunks of ore mined from within or picked up along the way. With attention and care I work with what I have; cutting, sanding, and polishing them down until something smoother emerges. With luck and persistence, I hope some of them will gleam as brightly as a string of pearls or one of my grandmother's polished pebbles. This is a journey of learning to craft something smooth and natural from rough raw materials. Won't you join me?

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