Working on Moonrise one last time. Loving my novel more than ever and thankful for the journey to get here.
Though an artist of a different time, medium, and stratosphere, Michaelangelo approached each block of marble as an opportunity to release the art from the inside. He considered himself not a maestro, but an artisan liberator. The Accademia Gallery in Florence houses one of his greatest works, The David, as well as a number of unfinished pieces styled The Prisoners, which stunningly demonstrate this philosophy. People are nearly free, but unfinished. The marble is pocked instead of smooth. They look like they are forever trapped by stone.
I practiced law for several years—a notoriously anti-creative writing profession. But in my early days, a lawyer I admired reminded me that we “practice” law. We can’t guarantee outcomes, but we try our best. We can improve but we’re never perfect.
Creative writing is much the same to me. I wish I had pursued an MFA, but my continuing education has been reading, deconstructing, researching. Engaging in robust conversations about plot and structure; showing and telling; POV. Receiving great, middling, and terrible advice. But then…trying. Writing. I cherish being in community with some of todays most talented writers, who demonstrate, time and again, that nothing replaces putting fingers to keys or pen to paper.
Before Moonrise, my practice yielded a “drawer novel” that will never see the light of day, and several first drafts of essays and short stories. They are viewable, readable, yet, to me, imperfect and not ready for the world. But writing them gave me the confidence and the practice to breathe life into Alice and Raymond and Pop and Dot and Percy and the New Jessup community. Moonrise needed me to practice in order to become a writer capable of finding its contours and nuance. I am proud of the journey to get to this moment, excited to share Moonrise with y’all, thrilled that the people and places in this novel will live in hearts and minds and imaginations long after I’m gone, and over the moon to continue learning this craft.
Today’s WNJA (my fictional New Jessup, Alabama radio station lol) hit will have you knocking on wood, courtesy of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.