Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chapter Five - Part Three - Field of Poppies

One of the hardest things about writing for me is staying awake. Is that a bad thing? I start out very excited about whatever I'm writing but there comes a time when I hit the "field of poppies," as Dorothy did in "The Wizard of Oz." Of course, as in that wonderful book, my sleepiness is well-timed to my nearing an important moment or realization. I have been journaling for long enough to know that when you want to go to sleep on yourself then that's the moment to force yourself to stay awake and find out where your thoughts are going on the yellow brick road.

Ironically, in the field of poppies only two parts of Dorothy's mind are able to stay awake, and one part is quite on the verge of rusting solid. The body goes to sleep, the inner child goes to sleep, the courage goes to sleep, but the heart and the mind force themselves to pull it together and stay awake until a change in the weather. With the Emerald City just on the horizon, and the end of the yellow brick road nearing, the thing that undoes a writer is sleep. This is where that old-fashioned notion of self-discipline comes into play, but finally it may be that a writer has to seek out some help.

Now, I hate asking for help more than just about anything in the world. I want to do it myself by now. I want my writing to be my own voice. I want to finally be through with writers groups and classes and how-to books. But, when I am overwhelmed by sleep it begins to occur to me that it may be time to ask for some feedback. Even if that feedback is cold as snow to wake me from a spell and get me back on the road, it may just be time to do the terrible, terrible thing of opening myself up to the world and crying, "Help! Help! Help!"