Happy New Year! I'm late to the party, but I've been enjoying catching up with people's resolutions, all of which seem very sane and sensible. Realism is the order of the day, as I've been reading around. Who says creative people have their heads in the clouds? In fact that's probably one of the silliest myths about artists of any kind. Who gets their hands dirtier with the messy business of life than artists, of every kind? But this isn't a rant. It's a celebration. Of stamina and staying-power and sheer bloodymindedness.
Over the past few weeks and months I've come closer than I've been in ten years to giving up 'this dream of writing'. Not that it has ever felt like a dream. Ref my earlier point about mess. Then I spent a few quiet hours with some great books (I'm reading more of Alice Munro, and discovering Raymond Carver), and in my own company, asking myself questions (gently, rather than the interrogative, reproachful angle I tend to take) and I reached a conclusion that's helping me find my focus again. I'd strayed too far from the heart of what I was trying to do. In a couple of specific cases I'd been trying to tell a story from entirely the wrong perspective, in the wrong way.
I knew these were good stories, but I was beginning to think I was not the person to be telling them. Well, over the last three days I've written a clean draft of one of these - a short story that's been part of my life for years, to which I feel a debt that was probably putting too much pressure on my instinct as an artist, skewing my approach to it. I've written a clean draft and I think it's good. Too soon to say that for sure, but what I can say is that it's the closest I've come so far to telling the heart of this story in the way it deserves to be told.
In addition to this I've got a little project going on which is just a tickle at this stage but a very exciting one. I feel like a writer again, and it feels good.