I’m not going to lie: BLUE BIRDS is by far the toughest thing I’ve ever written. But here are some things I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks:
There are many opportunities to get a book right.
I’m so relieved I’m not the one to say when my book is done. Letting a wiser, more skilled, level-headed expert be the one to push and direct this work is a hugely liberating.
As my critique partner, Kate Bassett, has reminded me, in order to experience a breakthrough, there must first be a wall. And then there’s this:
The best work comes from the deepest wells, and that’s where you’ve been resting lately– deep down in the place where words might not come easy and everything feels shaky….but just. keep. going. Because when you’re done, you’ll realize all those baby steps (even the “standing still steps”) were just what you needed to get the job done, and make your poems, stories, girls sing. You’ve got this!
My other critique partner, Valerie Geary, had this to say:
A simple answer: yes, it will come together. A longer answer: hold your panic/anxiety lightly. This is hard work. Made harder (and more terrifying) by a deadline. I think it’s nearly impossible to not feel any panic…so don’t panic about the panic, I guess is what I’m saying. Also, you’re strong enough to see this through to the end. And yes!! It will come together. Day by day. Poem by poem. Word by word. (And bird by bird, I might add…)
And then there are these words in my editorial letter that are a huge gift to me:
I could live in this book forever for the language alone. But most importantly, there is so much heart. I love these girls!
Off to hold my worries lightly and dive back in.