Friday, March 8, 2013

Starting a New Story: Thoughts from Michaelangelo

Note to my dear characters: Yes, alas, it's time to say goodbye. I created you, amid much sweat and blood, and I know you now like I know my own children (except that you're both far more predictable than they are!).

My hero, you were such a good guy, a real gentleman. And my heroine, so brave to take on what you did and make the best of it. 

I know you both so well--your senses of humor, the way you laugh. I know your deepest flaws and inner fears, and how you worked so hard to overcome them to become the best people you can be...and find love in the process. I know where you live and the quirky things you keep in your houses. I know your dreams and hopes for the future. I know how much you both love one another.

But now, just when I'm so sure of who exactly you are, I have to let you go. Turn over a new page, begin again the tormented process of discovering new people, create a new story out of these twinklings and shards of ideas that float about precariously in the swirl of my mind.

My fingers freeze over the keyboard. A thousand characteristics, flaws, hopes, dreams, and wishes appear. Which ones to pick? How to make this mess of emotions, memories, yearnings, gel into new characters, a new story? A coherent, good story that tells a message about strength, resilience, and courage.

I don't know how it happens, how this aimless blob of ideas takes shape and becomes an undertandable story. It's like what Michaelangelo said:  "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

Supposedly, Michaleangelo carved as if he were "witnessing the revelation of a submerged object." He would put a stone model into a container and slowly dip water out of it, and this would help him visualize how to carve the stone (see

Same with writing. We visualize, we struggle, and slowly, the path is revealed. A new story takes shape.

As Michaelangelo said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

But don't think for a minute that came easy, even to the greatest artists. Because he also said, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."

There is hope in hard work and struggle!

Image from, "Aubretia," #12-43-1