Friday, March 03, 2006

A Life Revised and Reclaimed

Mon., Feb. 27, 2006 — Santa Fe, New Mexico

Having just finished reading what I’ve written to date on The StarQuest, I am filled with equal parts excitement and terror at continuing. But that’s not why I’m writing this.

One of the quirks of all my first drafts of books is to start each day’s writing with the date and place it’s being written.

All but the first weeks of my The StarQuest writings fall within the six and a half years of my now-ended marriage. In fact the last day I wrote on the book was the day after my 50th birthday, four weeks less a day before the final moments of my marriage

And so in reading the manuscript, as I have moved from one day’s writing to the next, I have experienced a bizarre reliving of my life. Each date- and place-line has triggered a memory: Oh, I wrote this when..., or God, remember that!?

It truly has been the cliched “life flashing before my eyes”: sweet and bitter, harsh and pleasing, always evocative...none of which has anything to do with the book’s contents!

Here’s another one of my writerly quirks: In the second draft, date- and place-lines make way for chapter and section headings.

As I now prepare to move through my second draft, I will not only be rewriting The StarQuest, I will be rewriting my story. Rewriting it and reclaiming it for who I am now.

We don’t have to be writers to rewrite and reclaim our story, although writing is certainly a powerful tool for for any kind of transformation.

No, all we have to do is move out of the past and live today’s story instead of yesterday’s.

We spend so much of our time looking back over our shoulders that we have little energy left for the present. And that holds us back from the future.

As Lot’s wife learned on the way out of the biblical Sodom, when you focus solely on the past, paralysis is the only outcome. She looked back instead of forward and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Unless I replace all the date- and place-lines of my marriage with the next draft of my life, I will be stuck there forever.

Whatever else The StarQuest is for me, it’s that. That's one reason why I must write it. It’s also one reason I have been so resistant.

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