Bear with me while I share this with you. She is describing how, even if you have an idea for a great story--something you believe in and love--the process of translating your thoughts into words on a page can feel like killing a butterfly.
"For me it's like this. I make up a novel in my head...the happiest time in my writing process. The book is my invisible friend, omnipresent, evolving, thrilling. During the months (or years) it takes me to put my ideas together, I don't take notes or make outlines; I'm figuring things out, and all the while the book makes a breeze around my head like an over-sized butterfly whose wings were cut from the rose window in Notre Dame. This book I have not yet written one word of is a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that my love for this book, and my faith in it as I track its lazy flight, is the single perfect joy in my life...and all I have to do is put it down on paper and then everyone can see this beauty that I see.
And so I do. When I can't think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air...I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It's not that I want to kill it, but it's the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page. Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing--all the color, the light and movement--is gone. What I'm left with is the dry husk of my friend, the broken body chipped, dismantled, and poorly reassembled. Dead. That's my book."
This rings true to me as I start a new project that I'm having trouble pinning to the page. Still, I hate to just let it go...
Rumor has it that a thaw is on its way. Except for a trip to the grocery store with my husband driving the plow, I've been stuck at home for nine non-stop days, alone except for the dogs.
Thank God for the dogs!