I have been known to almost miss the turning of a red light as I head down the road in front of my house, my attention drawn off by an interesting tree or a dog near the road. Or a chicken - there's chickens by the red barn up the street. It's just how my brain works, in a random, distractable way.
Mary Milstead is not any of those things. She is a wonderful writer and a dear friend. She has also been a long-standing reader of my work in progress and has given many thoughtful and constructive reviews, for which I remain grateful.
Last Wednesday, we met at one of our latest usual places - Coffeetime on NW 21st. Mary listened as I read both sets of my current revisions, each from a different point of narration.
Then, in a nutshell, she advised me to stop distracting myself and get on with my writing.
It seems my trees or chickens of late are of my own making, the questioning of my ability and perhaps a bump in self-confidence. Along the path of self-examination, there is a point where it becomes flailing. After gaining all the positive effects of re-evaluating the direction of my novel, I suppose I have done a bit of flailing.
But Mary was right, and it's time to move on. Outside of my over-analytical evaluation, my instincts tell me which direction to take this piece. There will always be different ways to approach each scene, options for character and narrator and description. But this is this character and this piece.
"Get back to work," she said. "And do what you do best."
Everyone needs a friend like Mary.