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Starting a New Story: Thoughts from Michaelangelo

By on Friday, Mar 8, 2013 in Creative Process, Michaelangelo, Starting a New Story | 2 comments

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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  http://www.stoneproject.org/2-reductive-thinking-skills.html).

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 FreeFot.com, “Aubretia,” #12-43-1