Monday, March 19, 2007

Persnickety Serendipity

There's a work in my head that is screaming to get out. It is applying force to every convolution and curve of gray matter that I have. Buzzing like a small but very determined gnat. Very VERY determined.

My writing friends know of this work. All of them have read it at some juncture, and some (pity them) have even heard it aloud. It is the story that compelled me to write in the first place... the story that has to come out.

When I applied to grad school, I included it since I had only a few other things. (I included them too.) When I was accepted, I exhaled slowly, a sigh of contentment, and put that manuscript right up on the shelf. It stayed there until I discovered I had to submit something for workshop. So I dusted it off and sent it in. Then back on the shelf with it.

Could it stay on the shelf? Nooooo. Despite the numerous other things I sent my advisor, she wanted to see this piece. So, another layer of dust was brushed off, and off it went. It tormented both of us all semester, but of course, when it came time for a scholarship submission, well, it was all I had ready. Off it went again, prologue and all.

The semester ended, and my advisor and I rested. The ms was back on the shelf and I was not dredging it out for the rest of my studies! I had to do something else. I wrote a piece specifically for my workshop simply so I did not HAVE to submit the first.

Well, guess what. Lady Luck spun the wheel, and my story won a scholarship! I was honored. I was thrilled. I was shocked. I was pleased to put that award on my shelf next to the manuscript. I would work on it again, someday, since someone liked it.

A new semester, a new advisor, a new focus. Except... except that little annoying gnat which buzzed around me, taunting me with thoughts like, "I could use this technique for that old story..." and "This would work for that old story..." I didn't solve any problems of my new manuscript but I had a lot to add to my old manuscript.

Serendipity. Funny how she works. Funny how cranky she gets when we don't notice her messages. Funny how she beats us over the head with her messages until they get through our (ok, my) thick skull. Persnickety, ain't she?

Guess what my advisor and I are now working on. THE story. THE manuscript. THE award winning, dusty old poured-over book. I'm actually looking forward to it again--so I can solve its problems once and for all.



Gwenda said...

Well, for what it's worth, I loved what you read of this piece and am happy to hear you're not giving up on it.

Patti L Brown said...

Thanks, Gwenda. Apparently, its not giving up on me :)