Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Letting Go

Letting Go
By Donna Delgrosso

The other day, we finally gave my son’s hockey equipment away. The puck, hockey sticks and goal went to a neighbor’s son. When he came to the door, he was grinning from ear to ear and he was so excited that he practically jumped out of his shoes. I watched his blond hair bounce up and down under his red baseball cap as he and my husband carried everything across the street to a new home.

It was a bittersweet moment. Even though I was ready to let it go and am happy to see a friend take them over, I was still a little choked up. Another small part of my son’s childhood was gone. I loved playing street hockey with him. And the memories I have of the time I spent running after the puck on flat feet or on roller blades will never fade.

Those feelings are happening a lot lately as layer by layer he sheds his little boy ways and grows up.

On that same day, a friend remarked that she’d finished a manuscript. I know she’s happy that it’s completed but she also gave me the idea that she was a little sad to see it go. After all, she’d spent several months getting to know the characters and now, they were gone. I began to think again about the parallels between my writing and life.

I think every writer I know, talks about their characters as if they were living, breathing beings. Let’s face it… they are! They wake us in the middle of the night with a problem so big that we have to write it down. Or- they just won’t let us get out of something unless we do it their way. We spend hours, days even months getting to know them. We’ll talk them down from a conflict and sit patiently at the computer so they can do the same for us.

I have to confess- I don’t know that feeling of selling a manuscript yet. I’m still writing my first novel and have been at it a while. But I’m trying not to let it bother me- I’m having too much fun! It’s so cool to see a story develop in front of my eyes and to watch characters that I created change for the better. Conflicts erupt in front of my eyes and I have to choose to resolve them or make them even worse. Then I have to figure how to get out of the mess.

I’m now thinking of my manuscript as my hockey goal. I want to see it in a new home- on a shelf in a bookstore- and I want to see someone get excited because they’re holding it in their hands. Just like my neighbor’s son was about his new stuff.

I know I can do it. When I began writing this article, I asked some of my friends their feelings after they had sent their manuscript away. I was so surprised by their answers that the article took on a life of its own. So I decided to write another about them. I’ll include them next month.


Lisa Logan said...

That's a good analogy. Finishing that first manuscript involves a bit of letting go.

Part of that feeling for me was because I'd spent so long writing the first novel--two years--and in that time I really came to like the characters. But really part of me feared once that was over, I'd never have the experience again. It took me years of writing stories to realize I had ONE full length book in me, let alone many. Now that I draft in one to two months, I don't have quite the same let down when it's over. I know the next story will come when it's ready. Still, on occasion when I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll hit the files and peek in on old tales I've written. Like revisiting old friends.


Donna Del Groos said...

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I'm glad you liked it. As i sit and go crazy trying to get my own story on paper I have the same doubts. Its just taking so long!!! maybe i should set a goal to one day draft a book in two months! Now that would be a feat!!!