Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A fresh view

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it takes at least that to give me an idea for a blog post -- at least this one. My thanks to Dana Elmendorf, Lickety Splitter, Lola Sharp and Stephanie Thornton all contributed to my lightbulb moment for today's blog post.

Lola, Stephanie and Dana had all talked about revisions, the pain that they can be, and the long slow slog that writing often is. Lickety Splitter had posted a couple of pix of herself -- with and without glasses.

I was reminded of how blind I am. I am, without corrective lenses, legally blind. You know that E on the eye chart? That's about all I can recognize with the right eye that God gave me, and it doesn't even exist with the left eye that God gave me.

Thank the Lord that the God who created my less-than-perfect eyes also created the guys who invented (a) glasses, (b) contact lenses and (c) the plastic that makes both of 'em possible.

Since 7th grade, I've worn glasses -- hateful demon things that steam up when you walk out of an air conditioned building into Georgia's heat, fog up when you're trying to stir gravy, slip and slide when you're working outdoors. Contacts are infinitely better -- until they dry out, tear or pop out, I can at least pretend I have "normal" vision.

It was flat amazing the first time I put glasses on and I could see, though. The blackboard came alive with math problems -- gee, no wonder I had been skating by with a C in math. The trees had leaves. And yeah, those black shadowy holes in people's faces? Those gaz-y-boos were eyes.

I think about the things people take for granted with their vision -- things we see and don't marvel at every day. My mom, toward the end of her life, lost a substantial amount of her vision in one eye thanks to acute glaucoma, a complication of some meds she'd had to take. It made her feel so insecure and so fearful.

If vision is a wonderful thing, then re-vision is even better, even if I do carp about it, because revision is literally seeing something again. I'm in the process of revising a completed manuscript of mine. Yes, it's hard. Yes, all my darlings are screaming to be saved. Yes, I'd rather be creating something fresh and new.

But I am in a way. I'm looking over the work I did on the MS, and I'm using my fresh and "new" (well, as new as I can get 'em, anyway) eyes on this.

Part of those "new" eyes? Well, that would be whatever wisdom and knowledge I've learned after having four books published and (more importantly) after having written at least 8 books, maybe more.

So if it is a love/hate relationship between me and my glasses and me and my revising, well, at least I get new eyes out of the deal!


Patty Blount said...

LOVED the "vision" "revision" connection. I'm sorry to hear about your struggles to see.

Blindness is a particular fear of mine and I've reached the age where I am in need of glasses but am too vain to wear them. I can't read street signs until I've past them. Even this text box is blurry and I find myself hunching over my laptop to read it more clearly.

Stand by while I shift this to the flat panel. Ah. That's better.

My oldest has worn glasses since 5th grade and now wants laser surgery. *sighs*

Great post. I'm seeing the end of the tunnel with SEND and you've actually got me looking forward to revising it.

Lickety Splitter said...

I've worn glasses only for distant vision since first taking my learner's permit to drive. Wearing them wasn't always as annoying as they are now. But, for all the annoyance, I too am grateful for corrective measures!

You know what's one of the coolest feelings in the world to me? Knowing how to do something so well, that I could do it blindfolded ;) (Too bad there aren't many of those skills in my repertoire!)

Lola Sharp said...

I turned *gasp* *shudder* *gag* 40 *I can't hear that* in April...and (blessedly) I still have 20/20 vision. I do SEE (and love) your comparison. And, I agree. :)

I like making my MS the best it can be, and putting fresh eyes on it. But, I'm anal...uh, a perfectionist, and won't hand it off to my CPs until I've got it clean and revised within an inch of its life. Somewhere around the 7th draft, I pretty much want to kill my characters in a vat of boiling chitlins and move on to the Shiny New Idea. That's when I know it's time to hand it over to my CPs; when I can't stand to look at it again or I'll go blind. Hence the reason I call it Revision Hell.

I wish I was like you, an organized plotter. Perhaps that would mean less drafts, fewer plot glitches. But, alas, I'm not, and I'm always left with huge gaping plot holes after my first (and second) drafts. It's a Long slog in fire retardant waders. Maybe I need some prescription goggles?

Love this post, as always, Cynthia. :)

Jessica Lemmon said...

Me and glasses go WAY back. Since I was 3. Imagine my mother's stress at trying to keep bifocals on a 3-year-old.


Revision and I are rather recent friends... well, more like acquaintances. But I'm getting better. At least I'm now willing to slash and burn parts that don't work. I keep my hopes up by reminding myself that I may be able to put this or that part back into another story.

I love this post! Like Patty said, the vision and revision connection!

Tawna Fenske said...

Fellow four-eyes here, I feel your pain! I can't wear contacts at all, and have the opposite problem you do with glasses -- they're constantly getting covered with snow when I walk outside in Central Oregon winters.

Regarding revision, I know what you mean about seeing things with fresh eyes. I've been tweaking a manuscript I wrote two years ago as I prepare to send it to my editor, and I'm amazed at some of the "issues" I'm just now noticing.


Stephanie Thornton said...

This is a great way to look at revisions- I just got some mega-comments back from a mega-agent and have a long, painful slog ahead of me. It's the first time I'm really dreading revising.

Fantabulous post!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Loved your comment that it takes a village to give you an idea to blog about! Funny!

I had 20/20 vision for years, but now I have tri-focals. I used to wonder why old women had lipstick smeared over the lines of their lips NOW I know!

Anonymous said...

In elementary school I was doing my work all wrong and didn't know what was wrong. Then I got glasses and could see the board clearly. I have so many moments like that in my writing: going from obscurity to clarity.