I’ve been asked many many times about the process of writing and I have always been more than happy to offer my thoughts about it, usually from a process-perspective or from the position of struggle and triumph, of loneliness and fortitude. Never do I relay what it feels like when everything about writing is perfect because it happens so rarely. There are euphoric moments when time seems suspended within a single flap of a hummingbird’s wing and I was trying to think of a frozen-in-time analogy that would help describe such moments.
When I was a teenager, I was an avid dirt bike rider (both the pedal kind and the motor kind). I remember taking chances, way too many chances, particularly when it came to jumping things. You can look at the scars on my legs for the facts. I could, and did, set up artificial ramps, but the best kind of jumps were those that were naturally there, taunting you to take a chance. I remember once, and this is the frozen-in-time moment referred to earlier, when my brother and I were riding in the Sonora Desert dunes outside of Yuma, Arizona, when I sped up this sharp slope of sand that was so inclined I couldn’t see what awaited beyond it. Of course I didn’t care…who does when they’re 17? So up I went. Up and over. Southwestern deserts look a heck of a lot like those vast wastelands in Africa, particularly when you’re airborne on a tiny motorcycle flying high above its unforgiving granularity.
A perfect moment in writing feels just like that, floating at an apex where no one should be floating, a transcendent moment when human machines and Nature and God are all on your side. Human devices got you there, Nature’s power allowed the endeavor, and God decided if you’d live to experience it once again.
How I wish I could have made such an analogy when I was 17. This novel writing thing might have come so much easier…or…I might have taken the saner approach to life and avoid the endeavor all together.