When I was a kid, we used to do jigsaw puzzles in the winter, often over the semester break. A few months ago my wife purchased a couple of puzzles. And at first I was like, “Okay, sure,” knowing that I had so many other things to do that involved deadlines and pressure and people counting on me that the puzzles would probably just sit in their boxes.
But now that we’ve started one during the dark time of the year—and I was actually the one who initiated it—I’m totally digging it. We’ve been carving out a little puzzle-time a few nights a week and I love how the rest of life drops away as I get absorbed in the satisfying task of searching for the right piece.
As the puzzle started taking shape, I was totally struck by how putting a puzzle together is like my writing process. I can see some of the big things that will happen in a story and sometimes I can see how “I think” they will be connected, and I can even somewhat define the parameters of the story, but there is a lot left to figure out and to play with.
And with writing, we not only figure out where all the pieces go; we create the pieces.
|And, yeah, sometimes the pieces you see are blurry.|
You can have some amazing scenes and ideas, but without all the pieces you don’t have a story. And sometimes the most non-descript parts of a story—the times between the big scenes—can be the most difficult to figure out.
|Unfortunately our puzzle had a missing piece.|
Happy Holidays! And safe travels if you’ll be heading out to visit friends and family. We’re heading to Northern Arizona to visit friends and to do a little hiking.