Thursday, June 24, 2010

Split the Seams...

of literary convention.

In a universe of eels we are the strange ones with limbs and appendages and a tough substance near the end of what we call phalanges. Floating in this distant land we see


and feel water in our lungs. It is a sort of death and there are no words for this beginning.

Writing wraps me around the universe. Stories push my sails. These things we call ideas are

the manna in our hands

palms held up to the sky, waiting.

If I visit your words I see through a telescope into your mind. If you visit my words and understand even a moment I have breathed, I know I am what they call a writer.



Split the seams and make a new pathway. Today is a universe and I see the eels swarming. They are a rainbow in this ocean-blue. Jump in.

Today I feel like splitting the seams. I think when life catches up to me and so many things are tugging me in every direction, the only option I have left is to forge a new path. Forget trying to read every blog post I have marked. Forget trying to catch every typo in my manuscript. Forget trying to be perfect in everything I do because sometimes sanity is more important than perfection. My message today, if there is one, is that if fear keeps you from reaching your goals, you're not alone. Sometimes all we can do is jump in with our eyes wide open. I'm going to. What about you?


  1. Wow, I really like this. Nice job.

  2. Wonderfully put and beautifully written, Michelle. :) I had a chance to go to some art museums and that always inspires me to split the seams. My universe has roosters and cannibals, though.

  3. lakeviewer: Thanks for reading. I don't even know why I put this up - mostly because my brain is fried and I can't come up with an instructional post at ALL. Sigh.

    Taryn: Thank you!

    Davin: I must admit this is a nod to Scott. Next time I'll include roosters!

  4. AMEN!!! Beautiful post.

    By my age I've realized that after a point, you can completely drive yourself mad with that drive for perfection then if you're anything like me you end up quoting the Hatter: "Clean cup, move down!"

    I know my problem is that there are so many different ways to say or describe the same thing. So you end up with several options (now I'm thinking back to your post about all those different novel beginnings- did I mention that my first MS has had three and the second has had two thus far?)and you can go nuts trying to pick between them.

    It's not like, say, figure skating where someone can say "Yes that is the most perfect and artistic Triple Lutz I ever did see clean edges, great height, perfect landing! 10! (or however they mark it, I'm lost since the system changed.)

    No, with writing it's true there are rules and...stuff but the rest is all 'artistic merit' marks and we have to be who we are.

    Which in your case is good because you are very cool.

    ...and about blogs. They are endless. You just can't keep up all the time -nobody can. You just get too blogged down. Ha! that was totally a typo but I'm leaving it.

    Have a good day splitting the seams!


  5. Michelle: The eels scene is going into the next chapter of my WIP; I've decided that I have to keep it, even if it doesn't really move the story. But a book without eels is just plain wrong.

    I told Mighty Reader last night that I worried my novels aren't literary fiction; they might be historical adventure stories. She wisely told me that I worry too much. Which is to say, push those boundaries and split those seams.

  6. Bru: Excellent point made about art and how there's no right way to do it. Self-publishing my book has really made some this hit home for me.

    And yes, I definitely feel blogged down, haha. I've caught up a little bit. There were so many I wanted to read the past week that I didn't have time for.

    Scott: Oh, yay for the eels scene! Maybe your publisher will put eels on the cover...

    I'm joking, or maybe I'm not.

    I worry too much, too, about everything. It's exhausting!

  7. I jumped a long time ago. Only now am I beginning to swim, though.

  8. I've missed reading your posts. So lovely.

  9. Simon: I can't even think about swimming yet. I'm mostly referring to my little indie author venture and how freaking scary it is for me right now. The whole swimming thing - I know I'll have to do it eventually, or at least try. I hope I don't sink.

    Tara: I've missed having you around! I'm glad to see you blogging a bit more lately, and I hope we can converse a bit more!

  10. Beautiful post and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

    This week I've been pulled in all different directions I kept worrying about everything and whether what I was doing was "good enough." Then I just decided to "jump in with my eyes open" as you say at the end. What I realized was that when I focused on getting things done, I didn't have time to worry. Sometimes the best cure for anxiety lies in the doing.

  11. gabi: Oh, yes, you put that really well! Just doing something often helps me forget all the worry. I worry so much I'm afraid I'll die earlier than I should. See, I'm worrying about my worrying. This is a problem.

  12. "Stories push my sails." What a great line. You're flying, Michelle.

  13. I love this Michelle. We do box ourselves in way too much. I think in the beginning we need to know and follow the rules so that we can learn the craft of writing but once we've internalize the how and the why - I think we should break through the seams and find out what we can do.

  14. Tricia: Thanks! That's one of my favorite lines in there. :)

    Mary: Yeah, it's scary, though, and difficult! But I think it'll be amazing when I finally get to the point I'm heading for.


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