On Getting Our Hands Dirty

Not knowing is not the same as ignorance. Desire is not the same as sin. I remind myself these things every morning when I sit at my desk and start again. The blank page is always there, even when I've left my mark the day before, and the day before that. The blank page is there because oftentimes, on second reading, the marks I've left feel insufficient, even false.

So I start again. 

Sometimes when I am impatient to get a story "right," I am too eager for praise, and I forget the importance of getting my hands dirty. I forget that "fixing" that line that is bedeviling me is as easy as writing, reciting, singing it over and over until something shifts. 

Before becoming a mother, I had heard that children often prefer the box the toys are in to the toy itself, but I didn't believe that until I witnessed it myself. A cardboard packing box is alternatively my daughter's car, rocketship, doctor's office, home. 

The trick is, perhaps, to simply get out of one's own way, to trust that the box is not just a box, that the word starfish could make perfect sense in a sentence about St. George and the Dragon. And if it doesn't? Who cares. There's always more construction paper.