New Work

When I heard John Lennon sing, there are no problems, only solutions, I thought to myself, “I think he’s right, but you better be careful when and to whom you say that or you could get punched in the mouth.” When something feels like a problem, being asked to see it as anything other than a problem feels like being asked to feel glad for the thorn stuck in your foot. A man cannot wish his problems away, he can only fix them, and only in admitting a problem is a problem can the fixing begin. While homeschooling my youngest son I frequently find lots of problems – mostly with him, of course, but occasionally with me also. He’s bored and not paying attention, and I’m frustrated and wondering why we didn’t just leave him in school and pray for the best because surely there’s a better use of our time than this. Problem upon problem upon problem.

Yet it would be just as easy to view a book I choose to write as one problem after another. After all, when the book begins I have a bunch of pages that need to be filled. If they aren’t filled with words, preferably interesting and entertaining words, then I have a problem called an unfinished book. You could say each empty page is a problem that needs to be fixed. In fact, you could say the whole book is nothing but a problem that needs to be fixed.

Or an opportunity to do something I want to do. Oh, it’s grating when you’re in the thick of what feels exactly like a problem to be told it is really an opportunity, yet that moment when what had been working no longer works, whether in a story or a relationship, is like the end of a job you never really wanted. You are surprised to find that you no longer require the security you believed it had once offered, and now that silence, that emptiness called not knowing, is the blank page waiting for you.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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