Editing my Life

I love anecdotes.  I don’t know if this comes from meeting so many new people, being a preacher and telling stories to punctuate greater truths… I don’t know.  But that is how I tell stories.  I tell small stories.  It is why I like writing this blog so much.  I take out a little moment in time and use words to give it life.  

The first draft of “Tree Farm Girl” was simply a series of stories lined up back to back.  I was quite proud to have taken these many stories I have loved and put them to paper.  Alas, they were a series of adventures with only the faintest connecting tissue.  There was no sense of time or movement.  Honestly, I managed to write a love story and skip the part where the principals fell in love. 

So I have been editing for four weeks now.  Every night I sit down at the computer, or lay down by the fire pencil in hand, and just work.  It is hard.  I think the editing may be harder than the writing.  I have axed some of my favorite scenes.  I have re-written the first chapter four times.  I have restructured the story thrice.  There have been moments when I considered just putting it forth as is and just giving up. 

I feel like a sculptor.  And in this slab of stone before me is the story that wants to be told.  And I am chipping away at pieces, revealing strike by strike the beauty that I know is there.  As my hand falls, I can see the sculpture in my mind.  But I have to be able to bring it out to be seen by others.  I don’t want to tell people about it.  I want to reveal it.  So I am still travailing. 

There was a breakthrough.  I was chipping away, and the vision was blurry.  I could describe the whole but not the pieces.  I know there was a head and a torso and legs… but they were fuzzy.  Like a photo buffering on slow internet.  But one night I was staring and thinking at the problem, and the pieces slid into the place.  The image came into focus.  I could see it. 

I can see it.  And it is good.

-Ernesto Alaniz

December 11th, 2017