"To imagine yourself inside another person...is what a story writer does in every
piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose." --Eudora Welty
Artist: Margie Lakeberg
I love the goldfinch. He's a bright and cheerful burst of joy. I saw a whole flock of goldfinches on my walk yesterday, dipping and soaring like sparkles of sunbeams on the wind. What heart they have. My friend, and artist, Margie knows this particular bird is my favorite, and I cherish the gift of her oil painting that hangs in my office. I am continually inspired by it.
Sparkles. Heart. I look for sparkles, too, in my last read-through of my manuscript. I also find myself asking hard questions about my main character. Have I gotten to the heart of her story? Do I really know her--and what's deepest in her heart? Did I, as Eudora Welty suggests, imagine myself inside her? Welty says that that's what a story writer does, first step and last.
I think I did. I hope I did. And I hope the querying process in some way encourages me that I have been on the right track (or flight). But no matter what, I take inspiration from the goldfinch and look for the moments of joy in the writing--and in the finishing.
James Michener summed up the writing process when he said, "I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."
I wonder if he was inspired by the goldfinch, too.
In all of the great outdoors, what is your greatest inspiration?