Lené Gary

Jeanne’s Writing Manifesto

In craft, Writing Manifestos on 10/29/2013 at 12:21

For me, this is the spring of commitment, a contract with my new novel, The Double Sun. I vow to listen to my characters, to let them tell me their story. When my protagonist, Caroline, courts danger, I will trust her to find a path to safety. When her brother loses his basketball scholarship, I will allow him to express his rage. When Caroline’s parents struggle to repair a failing marriage, I will wait for them to find the answers. I will give voice to and write down the words of the people who inhabit my imagination. My lack of balance often threatens to overwhelm me. I immerse myself too often in obligations and responsibilities, forgetting that art requires space, time, and a quiet mind. Imbalance was a condition of the past; balance will be a condition of my future. Therefore, I have decided to leave behind me the guilt of abandoned stories and unfinished projects, for they inhibit my creativity. Someday I may return to them, but I will do so without regret. The dog and I shall walk the neighborhood every day, finding joy in small pleasures: the bloom on a cactus, the scent of the air after a rain, the clever mimic of the mockingbird. I will then return to the writing desk, refreshed and renewed, ready to listen and to write. No regrets, no guilt. Just pleasure in the craft of the art.

Jeanne Gassman

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  1. My dog and I will think about you and yours. I’m so honored to share this post alongside you. Your new novel sounds fascinating. Keep up the good fight!

  2. Oh, I just love this piece, and the two excerpts below resonate within me like absolute universal truths…

    “My lack of balance often threatens to overwhelm me. I immerse myself too often in obligations and responsibilities, forgetting that art requires space, time, and a quiet mind.

    The dog and I shall walk the neighborhood every day, finding joy in small pleasures: the bloom on a cactus, the scent of the air after a rain, the clever mimic of the mockingbird.”

    Jim Otterstrom

  3. “Therefore, I have decided to leave behind me the guilt of abandoned stories and unfinished projects.” What a great philosophy! Maybe they, too, are welcoming the break, and waiting patiently for you. No guilt!

  4. Thank you all for your kind responses. It’s a tough job to find and maintain balance, but the dog and I are working on it. I think these walks make me self-reflective. Today, on our walk, I was struck by how many trees are shedding their dead leaves after our several hard freezes. The plants are crowned with brown but new growth is pushing through. Suzanne, perhaps that is what it means to leave the guilt and regret behind– Make room for the new.

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