Wednesday, December 28, 2011

jigsaw puzzles & the fear of writing

Daisy supervising our puzzles
This past Christmas week, my family and I started what might be a new tradition: doing jigsaw puzzles. The main deterrent we learned however, is the dog. We noticed she was enjoying a good chew on what turned out to be one of the pieces, but by the time we scooped it from her mouth we couldn't tell its color or from where it had dropped. Now one of our puzzles would have a gaping hole.

This so reminded me of writing! We started with two boxes -- one with 550 pieces, the other 1,000 -- then dumped them onto the card table and cookie sheets to sort. The task of turning everything right-side up was a big mess. Should we start fitting together the sailboat or the borders? Maybe the wagon with its red wheels would be easier.

The mess of writing is like this, for me at least. A jillion thoughts and ideas are all upside down in my head, and the blank page onto which I must organized them, is terrifying. It seems impossible. The phrase in that sentence is awkward, but on this page it's a perfect fit. The process is painstaking. It's a puzzle of words turned this way and that, but finally a chapter emerges. What had scared me at the beginning now seems rather friendly. There's a story here. And if there's a gaping a hole, I'll just fix it.

Meanwhile, a confession -- I'm not proud of this and next year will try to do better: I ditched my puzzle buddies! They soldiered on without me, accompanied by their REAL friend [photo above].

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