I've been doing a lot of packing here at the dime store to move my family from Virginia to New England. I haven't been doing any writing, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing. It's the biggest challenge (well, besides lugging boxes down four flights of stairs...) to get all your stuff to run out at the same time, like shampoo, brown sugar, pickles, laundry detergent, etc. Sounds like the fixings for a pretty repulsive casserole. But it reminds me of writing a book and the need to finish off different plot lines at the same time and have it appear natural. Packing stuff in boxes reminds me of character traits and themes. As soon as you put something in, you can't always remember where you put it. It helps to group things together in places that make sense.
Because I had two lonely lasagna noodles left in the cupboard I made lasagna shortly before our move. It was heavy on the Ricotta with a thin dusting of mozzarella. My husband liked it; I didn’t. So I could take a few lessons from this. Use what you’ve got because there are a lot of different tastes out there. On the other hand having the right ingredients, but the wrong proportions makes for a disappointing experience. And just because you have something on hand (like an idea or a nice turn of phrase) doesn’t mean it belongs in the dish.
Right now my belongings are scattered in three different places (kind of like my thoughts). When we were putting things in storage, there were things I wanted to throw out, but couldn’t bring myself to because they have value. In writing, it’s so hard to throw things out in the revision stage too. It takes courage.
A plot has to move forward--and so do we…