It's been coming down all day. Fat, fluffy snow. Tiny flakes of snow. Sometimes sideways snow. Today I feel like Christmas, and it's all the better because I get to be home all cozied up, until later this evening, anyway.
I've been missing get-togethers lately with friends because time has been so short when it's come to getting things done. Christmas shopping for friends and 19 seven-year olds aside, I've been working on a short story that will be one of three sent off to artist Kamil Vojnar as a little Christmas treat. My friends and fellow writers, Kirsten Carlson and Nancy Carroll, and I decided to each write a piece inspired by one of Kamil's amazing works of art, then bind them up into books. At the moment, these books are for us and for him, more of a personal keepsake than anything else, but we'll see where the world takes it, and us.
I met Kamil in St. Remy, France a couple of springs ago while Chris and I were traveling through Provence.
(Need a recap? http://thehouseofcole.blogspot.com/2010/04/provence-day-five.html) While talking about my own writing and desire to work in mixed media, I told him that many of his pieces made me itch to write. He told me that if I ever did write something inspired by something of his, he'd like to read it. This is how this project was born.
Our stories have been written, revised, picked apart then loved back together, and ready or not, on their way to becoming something else. A little collection of our own to love, and hope Kamil will enjoy, too. It's exciting because we're actually doing something, rather than just talking about doing something, but it's slightly terrifying because by doing something, we're sending a little piece of ourselves out into the world to share, having no control over how it is received. That's tough.
Although it sounds completely ridiculous after years of workshops and giving and receiving writing critiques this had never happened before, I nearly came undone when I had to sit and listen to someone else read my writing. What? I know. Ridiculous. But it's true, I'd never heard anyone else read something I wrote. I know that if I put it out there, somebody reads it, just like I know that when I share something I've written at my writers groups, people are reading or listening to my words, but it's something entirely different when someone else's voice is speaking your words. Out loud. Within your earshot. It's terrifying, and I even got a little nauseous listening. But I calmed down, comforted by the fact that this story that I've put so much into was being read by someone I not only respect as a writer, but trust as a friend. She read with love, whether or not she meant to, and that helped ease the muscles that tensed entirely on their own when she uttered the first words. As writers, we know there is a little bit of ourselves in everything we write, fiction or not, and therefor nothing is entirely one or the other, fiction or not. It's a difficult thing to let something you have created, nurtured and loved, go out into the unforgiving world, but it's a necessary thing if that little piece of you is to ever sprout wings of her own and live. Knowing that I cannot control how the world perceives her, or how she is treated beyond my grasp pulls tight in my chest, but I know this is the way. I've given her life, now it's time to let her live it, with or without wings.
And then I think, if it's this hard to let go of a little story I wrote, how the hell am I going to do it with a human grown-up child one day?!
Tomorrow I will get together with Kirsten and Nancy, and we will bind up our little darlings and create something together. They are both amazing writers, and I am honored to be grouped together with them in any form. As for tonight, I'll actually be making it to a get-together with the people I keep missing lately to do a little talking, a little eating, and enjoy the people I'm lucky to know here while they're still around. It'll likely be the last chance I have to say hello and goodbye to my friend Sara, at least in this stretch of life in Germany.
There seems to be a lot of letting go going on around here, but such is life, right? All we can do is open our hands and let her fly. And if we're lucky, we'll see each other again. All the best, Sara, to you and your whole family.
If you're interested in looking at Kamil Vojnar's work, visit his website: