I wish for the cloths of heaven

I want to start out this blog with a poem that makes my soul ping:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

 

Wow, right? He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats encapsulates my feelings toward novel writing. I’m taking that soul-wrenching leap and actually pouring out a story of many hungers–love, starvation, passion, power, justice, truth, hope. I want my readers to devour this story, to love Fineena, Peter, Patrick, all of them, with the same intensity I do. I have the paradoxical urge to charge at my story, pen scribbling furiously away, and yet tread softly, knowing my readers are “treading on my dreams” after it is [hopefully] released to the world.

It’s such a delicate thing, writing. I see my story as a caterpillar right now–young, plump on ideas, nibbling on leaves of literary possibility until it cocoons itself in an editorial chrysalis, suspended in draft after draft after draft until BOOM, the butterfly breaks free as a vibrant resonance, and people read it, by God, they read it.

I’ve been dreaming of this novel since I was fourteen. I decided one day I wanted to write about a foreign country, so I went to the top of my subdivision, sat on one of the curved brick pillars that flanked the asphalt entranceway, and wrote out a list of every country I could think of. I pretended to do “elimination rounds,” crossing out country after country (too boring, too far away, nah, just don’t care), but always inherently nurturing the notion that I would somehow end up with Ireland. I suspended my “decision” until I had justified to myself that every other country just wouldn’t work, that Ireland really was the only one I could write about and believe in enough to dedicate an entire book to. I circled it, over and over, embedding the ink into the page until it almost bled through to the next sheet of looseleaf. and I knew right then and there that I was in for the journey of a lifetime.

I’ve gone through various spurts of novel writing since that moment on the pillar, but it wasn’t until this past winter break that I decided to seriously focus on my book. I couldn’t tell you the exact moments Fineena and Peter, the heroes, began coagulating in my mind, but they’ve formed and stayed along my entire journey thus far, and even when I merely think about them, I feel this vibrating possibility they contain. It’s like, good God, when they come to life, they’re going to come to life.  I have half-baked scribbles about them, a few scenes here, a few scenes there, but my journey has lacked true orientation so far.  During winter break, however, something inside of me snapped; I couldn’t find any more reasons to keep holding back, keep putting the novel writing off, and I researched and thought and developed my story every day. I was on a sweeping path, not constantly glancing over my shoulder anymore with doubts, but just go go go, full speed ahead.

Life has gotten in the way several times in this current semester (taking five Russian classes, working twenty-five hours a week, planning for study abroad, dealing with corporate stress, looking for a full time job and scholarships, and attempting a smidgeon of a social life will do that to you), but what it boils down to is that this project is my great hunger. I have chosen to spread my dreams under readers’ feet and subject them to my trials, tribulations, hopes, successes, failures–every grimy detail. Call it a story soul spillage. I pledge, hear and now, to believe in this book every day, to not give up, to dream, and, most importantly, to write.

I have no doubt this book will be great–not because of my own efforts, but because it’s a story that needs to be told, one of those that my soul can’t contain anymore and I need to share with the rest of the world’s consciousness.

Tread softly, cause here I go.

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