Monday, July 4, 2016

Chasing the Impossible

This morning I “shared” a meme (I think that’s what they are called) on Facebook, a quote from Ernest Hemingway: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” I liked reading that; it made me realize even the greatest of authors was never sure he got it right.

I’m about to release Jamie’s Children ─ my fifth book in three years ─ and I have read, edited, proofed, re-proofed, tweaked, re-read, re-re-re-etc.-read this book. Did I tell the story I wanted to tell? I believe I have. Did I do it the best it could possibly be done? Probably not, but I think I did it as well as I could, given where I am in this journey. People who have read it have been encouraging and even enthusiastic. I suppose in the long run, that’s all any writer can ask. I know that there will be readers who don’t care for my book, and that’s okay. What we write doesn’t resonate with everyone.

Here’s a truth: Perfection is unattainable by us mere mortals. I always understood that was the case in the performing arts. I never did a public performance that I didn’t wish I could have a do-over with, and I never really believed people who told me I had sung well. My late husband Sam, who had an exceptional tenor voice, was the same way, and he sometimes quite honestly did sound very close to perfection. I would tell him he couldn’t possibly have sung it better. He was never satisfied, though ─ it was never really good enough.

Perhaps that’s the way it is intended for people who actually excel in the arts. Do those who are satisfied with their efforts cease trying to improve? Performing artists can’t really “coast” ─ there are too many exceptional singers, pianists, violinists, folk artists who are eager to succeed and are working hard to become “the best.” It’s a tough business. Just ask the characters in my novels. Or their real-life counterparts. They still do it. They have to; it’s hard-wired into their souls. It’s what makes their lives meaningful.

I’m new to the writing field. I think I’ve improved, but I feel I still have a long way to go. But to me, that’s part of the enjoyment ─ constantly learning more about the craft. Striving to make it better. And even “more better.”

And once in a while, writing a sentence or a phrase that makes me think, “Where did that come from? Did I actually just write that?” That’s what makes us stick with it, I believe. Looking to find more of those flashes of inspiration that we believe will grab a reader and make them take notice; that will say something meaningful to them.

Here’s one I really liked when I put it “on paper” (well, typed it into the computer). My character Niall Logan thinks it when he realizes how important music is in his life.

It’s more than music: It’s light. It’s love. It’s life.

Samuel Jordan, tenor

Jamie’s Children will be available on Amazon July 15 in both paperback and Kindle.
Please look at my website to find links to my other three novels and one non-fiction book: