So I'm reading through the first draft of my current novel-in-progress and I start to notice I have a lot of references to birds in the story. A LOT. One of the characters even has the nickname "Chick." There are also alot of gardening references. And the thing is...I didn't do this intentionally. Obviously, some hidden themes are struggling to emerge in this book. What is the deal with the birds and the gardening? Are those birds really birds? Or do they symbolize something else? Freedom, perhaps? Loyalty because, though they migrate, they always return? Honesty and truth? Maybe. A verse in Ecclesiastes in the Bible says: "Curse not the king, no, not in thy thoughts; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber; a little bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter." Hmmm...I wonder. Who is Chick, really? As for the gardening, do those flowers and vegetables sprouting up in scene after scene signify growth in my protagonist, Maggie? Are all those weeds she's suddenly desperate to pull really the clutter in her life she is finally ready to uproot and toss aside?
Then again, maybe that's all a bunch of baloney. Maybe I've been craving Popeye's fried chicken the past months while I've been working on this book, and I've been obsessing about gardening because my thumb is far from green yet we've been remodeling our backyard and I have huge beds now to fill in the spring.(Was going to include photo of yard-in-progress and the gorgeous pergola my talented husband is building, but Blogger won't upload it). Either way, I'll find out soon enough. That's what I love about revising. Having that first draft, that huge lump of clay I've been mixing complete, and now I can really experiment with it, carve away what doesn't work, find the hidden surprises, mold and smooth until I find the right shape and the story and people in it become real.
Today my local writing club, Panhandle Professional Writers, held an Entertainment sale to earn money for the organization. I sat outside in our first day of real cold, froze my fingers off while autographing books, talked for 30 seconds on the radio to help promote the event and gave back 20% of my proceeds to the club. It was fun despite the cold, despite the fact that the radio guy introduced me on-air as Jennifer "Author" rather than "Archer!" Ah, well... I got to catch up with some writer friends I don't see often. One, Deborah Eliott Upton is always so much fun. We started out together. She was the first person I met in my first creative writing class many years ago, and vice versa. We've been through a lot together. She has a mystery story out in an anthology about the Seven Deadly Sins. Debbie is such a great writer. You should check out her website and buy her book if you're so inclined. http://www.expressedimagination.com/
On the reading front, I recently finished a fantastic book Blackberry Winter by Cheryl Reavis. It's been a long time since I've read characters who became this real to me. I catch myself thinking about these "people" all the time, lately. Blackberry Winter will probably be difficult to find in bookstores since it's been out a while. This is a story of family, regrets, forgiveness and finding home. Sounds heavy, but there's warmth and humor, too. It's worth having a bookstore order it for you, or buy it through Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com.
I'm off to analyze the birds in my story now! Stay warm!