Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Bouquet of Fiction and Flowers

Writing is kind of like gardening. When I first started my novel, FLOURISH, the words came together like new seeds sprinkled in the dirt. Then I realized I had to amend the soil, add some nutrients to make it richer, and as with any shrub or flower, it takes time to see it grow to its full potential with an abundance of robust, colorful blooms. FLOURISH, which I wrote about in my first blog post, is now finished and sitting on my computer, taking a rest. Or to be more honest, I’m taking a rest from it. After almost three years, I need to step back, give it some time to set, and then come back with fresh eyes and decide whether it blossoms are vibrant enough.
In the meantime, I’ve gone back to a story which had its seeds planted several years ago. I was on vacation when my sister-in-law, Roni, told me about an oil painting that had hung in her parents’ house for many years, how she found the artist and what ensued. Immediately my brain started clicking and I set off writing. But, then I got involved with FLOURISH and set the painting off to the side.
Do you ever wonder where writers get their ideas from? I do. Sure, there are memoirs, quite an abundance of them now, but there are so many other stories with great characters and plots.  One of my favorites, The Art of Racing in the Rain, is brilliant. I imagine the author, Garth Stein, is a dog lover since his narrator is a dog. I can just imagine Stein sitting on his couch one night petting his pooch and wondering what’s going on in his mind. Maybe Stein had some family trouble, as in the novel, or maybe he read about a similar situation in the newspaper. However he came up with his story-line and characters he wrote a fabulous book, one I recommend highly. You can’t help but fall in love with Enzo, an insightful lab-terrier mix. And if you know how he came up with his story, please tell me.
While waiting for FLOURISH to set, Roni’s painting is blossoming into a new novel. I’ve taken the idea of her oil and am scattering its seeds, centering it around a family secret held for 85 years.  I’ve got plans as to where the story will go, but new buds are popping up where I never expected, and suddenly I’ve got a new character. We just met and I’m not sure how much she’s going to play a part in the novel. I’ll keep writing and find out. My pen will let me know.
I realize this post, again, doesn’t have a fitness tip. It’s the literary part of The Literary Leotard. For those of you who wait for my exercises, I promise my next post will be about core strength. In the meantime, stop for a moment and observe your posture. Are you slouching? Is your belly sticking out? How about your head? Is your neck pushing forward? Okay – readjust. Pull your abdominals in, roll your shoulders back, retract your head – sit up! You’ll feel a bit taller and even more important; you’ll be helping your spine. Make it long. I’ve found the more you sit or stand erect, you not only look more confident, you feel it.
Until next time – hold your belly in – from the moment you wake up ‘til you go to sleep. But, don’t forget to breathe! Stay tuned for more.

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