Slowing Down


Ruth Shamansky (mother of my friend Rise) once said, “I have a lot to do today and I’m going to get to all of it by slowing down.”  She was making a joke at the time, but I think those are damned wise words.  I’ve taken them to heart, particularly as I’ve begun to realize the need (my need; I can’t speak for any other writers) to take my time with what I write, to slow down the narrative enough to give the characters time to speak their minds.  I get terribly excited by the advent of a new story idea.  I want it all to happen NOW!  I want to rush to get it down onto the page.  Sometimes I mistake a draft for a finished project.  I am learning to take my time, slow MYSELF down as well as the narrative, to take time to “be where I am” and see what the terrain looks like.  Case in point:  I’m working on a story called “Picture Perfect.”  I want it DOWN, I want it DONE.  The story is making faces at me.  “All in good time,” says the protagonist.  “Don’t rush me.”  And she’s right.  The story well tell itself if I give it the time to do so.  (Patience has not been my strong suit in the past.  It’s going to have to be in the future.)

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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