Friday, July 30, 2010

Just Give Me Crayons

Do you remember when you were four, and all you needed was some paper and crayons to be an artist? You could sit down and draw whatever you imagined. Your house, a dog, a butterfly—each one a masterpiece.

My mother-in-law is an amazing woman. She is grace and dignity personified. She never goes out in public without being put together. She's never too loud or demonstrative. She's a classy lady. Know someone like her?

She also plays the piano. Well, sorta. Everything she plays sounds the same. But to watch her? Her eyes are closed and if you dare follow where she leads, she's giving a performance worthy of a concert pianist. Watch her closed eyes long enough and you can begin to hear the perfection. Sometimes I can even hear the string section that's backing her up. My ninety-three year old mother-in-law channels her inner four-year-old and brings her forth into the world. She is a concert pianist and there's no taking it away.

So, yesterday, I found myself in the middle of a scene that was bound to be a bit complicated, and was concerned the details might be a bit off. Without creating an Information Dump, the pieces needed to convey an authority that would generate trust in my reader.

Initially, I crumbled.

And then, I found my four-year old. The one that could only create a masterpiece. Failure was not only not an option, it wasn't even a word I understood.

This morning when I read the words I wrote? One of those 'love it' moments. That wee bit of confidence gave me the power to forge on. This afternoon, I'm almost certain I penned a symphony. Or, the very least, drew a pretty good likeness to a dog.

CR: Rain Gods by James Lee Burke. I restarted this book last night because my schedule had forced me to put it down, and Burke requires more from me. Do you see how quickly he trains his readers? This is my first book of his. A little bit of power?

It's all better with friends.


  1. I have a 4-yr-old, and all she likes to do is color. She goes through almost as much paper as I do! hehehe...

    If we all could only be brave enough to write with the abandonment of a child. *sigh* Darn that lost innocence!

  2. I would've long agreed that the inner critic has no place during the writing of a first draft, but wouldn't have thought to find the positive of that: that what *does* belong is the inner preschooler, the inner crayon scribbler. Thanks, Peg.