Aha! · Writers Write

Watching Hair Grow

Fog this morning. Dense, wet Dark Shadows vampire fog. Sandburg said, “The fog comes on little cat feet.” I wouldn’t have used that metaphor, but I’m not a poet. By afternoon, the fog outside the window will drip, and then, the deludge will start. Our local forecasters don’t get much opportunity to make real predictions, but they tend to get this one right. Five inches by tonight, I’ve heard. I should get out of the house to walk before I’m stuck for the three or four days it takes for the rain to pass. But, it’s a writing day, and I know what I have to do.

I’m still waiting for this to get easy. And it still isn’t. I’m an incremental writer. Layer and layer and layer–a million drafts. I tweek it over and over. I don’t get the ideas or the language all at once. Instead, it’s like watching hair grow. I get a line and then trim it just so, and I watch it grow a little more before I curl it. Ridiculous analogy, I know, but I’m not Sandburg. Maybe when I’ve written ten manuscripts, I’ll be quicker, but probably not. I can say this. I know the story. I don’t have to do a dissection to understand where things are and how they fit. I know the heart and ribs and spleen. And, I have that sense of why I didn’t have last August.

At least there’s that.

So, I have the silence of fog. Sandburg’s cat feet don’t make much noise, and Lilly-the-wonderdog snores softly while she waits for me to get on with it.

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