On March 31, 2017, The Book of Rhino ~ The Revelation was released on Amazon. What began several years ago, as a single sentence, was now a 372-page novel. The elation I felt at the time was tempered by a feeling of sadness that the writing process was finished. It has always been that way whenever I finish a writing project because, when it comes to writing, I enjoy the process more than the product. In a broader sense, I enjoy the journey more than the destination. I prefer a road trip to an airplane ride whenever I take a travel vacation.
When I was a young girl, my sister and I made an occasional trip to “Paris” (my parents’ bedroom.) It was always a special treat to load up our slippers with Skunk, Mole, Troll, and Mountain Horse (the trio) and take them on a journey through our house. Each room was a different country with its own geography and scenic areas to explore. Each country had its own delights and dangers. It took us all day, and when we reached our final destination, all the people rejoiced.
What I think is most illuminating about our journeys is how infrequently we made them. However much we treasured those trips, we did not make them very often. Perhaps some childhood instinct warned us that what made our trips to Paris so precious was their rarity.
The other day I happened upon a website with the following article posted: “How to Write a Book: The Secret to a Super-Fast First Draft.” While I am sure that there are reasons for wanting to write a super-fast first draft, they are a mystery to me–especially if one has a choice in the matter. I have had to write quickly under time constraints. I have had to produce a first draft and a finished product in a matter of days, but I did not enjoy it. It was like flying from California to Colorado in a few hours. Certainly you arrive at our destination, but you bypass the wild canyons and cliffs of Utah.
I have once again started another writing project. Everyday I write and write and write. I am once again on a road trip, passing through other countries in which people whom I don’t know live and move and have their being. Along the way I will stop and look at canyons and cliffs. I will eat lunch in places like McFarland and Lodi, or at Jack Ranch near the curve that took James Dean’s life.
In his essay Odyssey, Aldo Leopold describes the journey of a single atom that, in a year’s time, helps build a flower, which becomes an acorn, which fattens a deer, which feeds a hunter. My current writing project began with a single word Time and is flowering before my eyes. I do not know what it will become; perhaps it will remain a flower. It that is all it does, it will have been a wonderful journey.