Thursday, April 5, 2012

Realizing This is My Cocoon to Eat

It occurred to me this week that I am stuck. Just like a butterfly in a cocoon, I have made it through the beginning stages of my metamorphosis, then wrapped myself up really tight and secure for the final transformation and have been unable to budge since.

To become a butterfly, there are four stages of life. First there is an egg, then the larva (what I typically call the caterpillar), the chrysallis (the cocoon) and then, finally, there is a butterfly.
Writing can be looked at in the same four stage process. We begin with an idea, which, much like an egg, has the potential for life if protected and handled with care. Then there is the outpouring of the idea, which Anne Lamott calls "the shitty first draft" and which Marion Roach Smith calls "the vomit draft," whoever you talk to it's icky, sticky and not unlike a caterpillar; it eats everything in sight, it's alive, but only beautiful to those who have unique vision; it is unfinished. After the outpouring comes the hardest work of all - the true metamorphosis - the editing phase. At this point of writing it is often advised that you pack away your work, let it be for a while and then return to tear it asunder. I can't help but think of that caterpillar sleeping in that cocoon, hidden from the world and then eating his way out of the cocoon bit by bit just to see the light of day again.

But when he does, he is something beautiful, something majestic and he can fly. This is the same thing with my writing. It will fly once it gets out of its cocoon.

The only problem is it seems I was waiting for help. Have you ever read the story of the butterfly who received help with getting out of his cocoon? He never finished developing. He couldn't fly. It is heartbreaking.

So, for Round 2 of ROW 80, I have one simple goal: I must edit my novel. I must take the time necessary to transform it from caterpillar to butterfly. Will I be done by the end of this round? I have no idea, but if I am not don't you dare try to pull me out of this cocoon before I am done!

Click here to support the rest of the writers in Round 2 of ROW80.

1 comment:

  1. Discomfort -- and imbalance -- is where the artist finds her/his own voice. Good luck with the editing!