03 February 2010

For what it's worth

Last year was a year of wanting. I wanted badly to write a novel. I began to see it as a challenge, like taking up knitting a scarf. Now, I have never been a sewer or a knitter. I don't know why, it would seem to suit me; I like fabric and colour and textures. I like nice clothes and I love quilts. I sometimes think that I would love to make a quilt -- but actually not, because I tried it once and I do not have the patience. It was hard enough just cutting out the little squares. So I wouldn't actually "love" to make a quilt. I wish I could, maybe, if I had unlimited time, very sharp scissors and a forgiving pattern. But given the grist of reality, no. Not at the moment.

And writing a novel, I'm beginning to suspect, may be a similar thing. I admire good novels. I enjoy reading good novels. I have learned a lot about how novels work and are constructed and what you need to do to write them. But for me it is like cutting out all those little squares: more difficult than it looks, and not particularly enjoyable! I have also discovered quite a lot about myself. For instance. If I write 2 good poems this year I'll be happy. If I write 50 mediocre poems to get to the 2 good poems I'll be happy. If I publish the 2 good poems I'll be ecstatic. But if I don't publish any poems, I won't be terribly depressed.

The novel is a net, it tangles and traps, both in the reading and in the writing. This year, I think, I would rather be a fish. I would rather swim with dolphins. I would rather dive for pearls.


  1. oh my goodness, I was thinking the same thing about quilts. They are so lovely and I would love to call one my own. I am tempted to try it but I have heard how difficult they are also. Yes, I have a lot of time to myself each day but somehow it goes by so fast with daily activities!

    Good luck on the poems...wish I had some words of wisdom for the novel part...

  2. I haven't written a novel either, but my feeling is that when it's time to write one, I'LL KNOW.

    I don't do quilts, but if I ever get to the end of my waiting list for lace scarves, I'll knit you one. Like all challenges, you do them one stitch at a time, and you can't learn how to do them in a day. Seeing the metaphor?

    BTW have you entered my blog giveaway yet?

  3. I have exactly the same thing with knitting. The shame of the unfinished garments under my bed!