Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tangled Rainbow of Words





I spent the entire day editing a book I am working on. Except for the portions of our homeschool I had to teach and a morning run, my day was spent trying to spice up the story, find the errors, and hone the message. And then I could not sleep. All night, I was thinking about what I was trying to say with the book, and how best to say it. But all my thoughts were a bit of a rainbow tangle- too tired to sort out. This is my third or maybe fourth time through the book, revising and rewriting. Having just finished Hawthorne's masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, I know what great writing looks like. It is fresh in my mind. It tortures me daily.

Since my book is about my senior friend Comer's WWII experiences and life, I called him to see if I could pull out more details of those long ago years to bring my book to life. I know he was happy to spend some of his eventless days chatting, so it was time well spent. However, I didn't really glean a lot more information than I already had for the story. This is probably the hardest part of writing for me. The framework is there, the story is written, and it is pretty good. But it is not good enough...not yet...and to get it to where it should be is tedious, hard work. It often means destroying whole pages of words I had labored over because they really don't belong, though once I thought they did. And it involves the ability to synthesize and pull the whole mess of words into one unified whole...like making all the disparate strings on a guitar speak with one voice so the listener clearly discerns the tune.

My son had a rather startling revelation in college. Spend ten minutes more on a paper than you think you should and it will be good. Spend half an hour more, and it will be great. I think this might apply to every single endeavor we undertake. Always stretch a bit further than you think you can, and you may touch excellence.Go further than the point at which you think all is well, and it will be better. This probably applies most strongly in the spiritual realm. The more ardently, fervently, continually, and consistently we seek God, the more He reveals Himself. And the converse is sadly true as well.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.




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