I used to think I had 1,001 reasons to hate men, turns out I have 1,001 reasons to hate one man and the rest of the poor saps just caught the shrapnel. — Fisher’s of Men.
Fisher’s of Men is not a new story that woke me up one night wanting to be written. It’s a story that really began in a home for unwed mothers in Utica NY in 1965 and is working it’s way to resolution with every new step, every new discovery and every word I write. It’s a story that has to be written and desires to be told. It’s a story that is almost universal in nature and bigger than me. It’s story that I have been asked to share on stage since I was 14. It’s also a story that I thought I could write during National Novel Writers Month. 50,000 words. Piece of cake I thought. I’ve discovered it’s also a story that can’t be wrapped up that neatly yet.
The first few days, the first week even the words flew off my finger tips onto my keyboard and into my hard drive. I know everything there is to know about her, after all I created her. I’ve eaten, slept, and breathed her into existence for over 47 years. I know her inside out and backwards. She’s a mix of things, sinner and saint, lover and fighter. Porcupine and Pollyanna. She’s full of self-knowledge and yet it avails me nothing. My protagonist doesn’t resolve. Every story has a beginning, a catalyst and resolution. She needs to resolve in order for the story to be complete.
When I couldn’t make her resolve, I ran to my cove in order to be alone and find my ending. I firmly believe that every writer should have a body of water to live near or at least visit. There is truth in water and it’s boundaries. And if you are lucky and listen closely the wind will catch it’s truth and carry it to you. I spent the weekend wandering the boundaries of my cove hoping to find clarity when the truth hit me square in my gut with such force it almost took my breath away. My protagonist doesn’t resolve because I don’t. Fisher’s of Men isn’t a piece of fiction, it’s my life story. It’s me. Until I resolve, my story will remain in a state of crux.
One of my writing buddies spoke this weekend about how her word for 2013 flew in the window and jumped up and bit her. Much like the wands in Harry Potter that choose the wizard, certain words choose the author, not the other way around. That’s what happened to me. I’m not ready for it, I have no idea what to do with it, but here it is. My word for 2013 is RESOLVE.
This will be a word of rich depth, broad meaning, and many layers. I looked it up. Like me, it’s meanings are wide and varied. One of my favorite definitions so far the the transitive verb, to solve an equation again with new values. That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Maybe the whole reason Kat(that was her name) and I don’t resolve is because we’ve been using the incorrect values in the equation.
2013 – is going to be a year of recalculating.
resolve (third-person singular simple present resolves, present participle resolving, simple past and past participle resolved)
(transitive) To find a solution to (a problem).
(transitive) To solve again.
I’ll have to resolve the equation with the new values.
(intransitive) To make a firm decision to do something.
I resolve to finish this work before I go home.
To come to an agreement or make peace; patch up relationship, settle differences, bury the hatchet.
After two weeks of bickering, they finally resolved their differences.
(transitive, intransitive, reflexive) To break down into constituent parts; to decompose; to disintegrate; to return to a simpler constitution or a primeval state.
(music) to cause a chord to go from dissonance to consonance
One thought on “Recalculating”
Over the years as I’ve taught at writing conferences around the world, you should see some of the looks I’ve gotten when I tell people to stop thinking of a story in terms of its structure. And it’s easy to understand why.Spend enough time with writers or English teachers and you’ll hear the dictum that a story is something that has a beginning, middle and end. I know that the people who share this definition mean well, but it’s really not a very helpful one for storytellers. After all, a description of a pickle has a beginning, a middle and an end, but it’s not a story. The sentence, “Preheat the oven to 450 degrees,” has those basic elements, but it’s not a story either.