A favorite anecdote that I’ve often shared with other writers dates back to college when my good friend Andy staggered into my room equally exhausted and exhilarated to announce a breakthrough on his senior thesis about Thomas Hardy.
He plopped onto my futon, then followed a big sigh with the most telling question: “Wanna go see a movie?”
We burst into laughter simultaneously, as at a punch line that had no joke leading up to it and thus was all the more enjoyable.
I’ve witnessed that same laughter more than once over the years when other writers have heard the anecdote. Why is it so funny? Because it’s so truthful. For all our coiled efforts that keep us plowing forward in this (or any other) craft, often what we are really striving toward is the kind of progress that will allow us to stop.
To stop and take a break in good conscience, feeling momentarily liberated from those coiled efforts when breakthrough is truth and the truth sets you free. [Read more...]