Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Dance of the Sword--a call to valor

Have you ever found an idea for a book and been terrified by it? The inspiration for a book that you feel needs to be written, but you don't think you have enough talent to write it? You know, way deep down in some corner of your inmost being, what it would take, and yet you don't know how to express it?
Professor Bhaer's advice to Josephine March is particularly appropriate in such moments:
 "Jo, there is more to you than this, if you only have the courage to write it."
I think a lot of times we don't have the courage to write the thing that needs to be written. We let ourselves drift along with easy writing--scribbles, fun scenes, short stories--but we can't, or won't write anything else because we aren't brave enough.
I think it really does come down to that in the end, and we have one choice: Bare our swords, push our hair out of our faces, lift our chins, and thrash it out. Thrust and parry, swing blindly, but remain determined to be the victor. Courage men! Courage! It does not have to be an immaculate fencing match. It won't be immaculate at first. It might have more of the claymore than the rapier about it, but I stand firm in my opinion that eventually, if we only have the courage, we'll hit upon it. We mightn't recognize it at first, but we will...we will. Our feet will learn the dance of the duel, and our hands will tighten upon the hilt. We will no longer be babies, fighting with wooden swords, but soldiers trained in war. We will win, and we will disarm our opponent, Doubt. And when that moment comes, we will know what it means to be a writer who has written from the depths of her soul. The battle will fade in the glorious sensation of victory, and all those wounds will be forgotten in the balm of triumph.
"The day may come when men's courage fails. But it is not today!!!!"
~The Return of the King
I need that sort of courage for my the ideas presently swarming my mind...I don't know how to write any of it, but I have a feeling that someday, somehow, I'll become a mistress of my sword.


Carilyn said...

I agree. I actually have a book in the makings (nano) with a serious sort of theme, and I think it needs to be dealt with carefully and particularly, but I don't know if I'll be able to get there. I think I may, but we'll see. Best of wishes on your endeavors!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness graciousness, I cannot tell you how much I currently abhor swords. I wince at the mere mention of them. They all seem to mock me with their shining blades of steel...

But you have a point here, Rachel, and when I take a moment to get over my fear of swordplay, I see it very clearly. I wish you the best of writerly luck with your future stories.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time with this right now. Plunging and just writing I mean. Thanks for the encouragement. Oh and I love your new background.

Jenny Freitag said...

It's a funny odd thing, Rachel-Sarah (whichever this is, or both). I feel this way much of the time. Every paragraph I undertake challenges me, daring me to go deeper, to make and find more layers in my plot and characters. At this point I have two whole stories under my belt, so that when I look at the skeleton construction of my third I know that it will take time to make it look like anything worthwhile. I suppose, in a way, it is a kind of faith: trusting for the unseen finished product to appear while all you can see is the scary, formless shape of your plot, your plot which seems too large and daunting and insubstantial for you to tackle. It takes courage. It takes a lot of courage.

I know this, Rachel-Sarah, but I always need to hear it. Thank you.

"To hold a pen is to be at war."