A Delicate Balance

Just look at this exquisite photograph by Sandy Rubini. I'm amazed by her eye. Just imagine to have captured this image in the moment of its delicate balance. Not only is she talented; she is gracious. When I proposed that we might collaborate once more (her photography also graces the cover of my novel, Gypsy Bones), she agreed. It had been my intention to publish a fourth novel, then titled Small Hands, but as I have been revising it, I've become unsure. At first I felt unsure only about the title. For a while I started thinking of the story as expressed by the water drops, the rain, the tears, and turned to a different phrase from the poem by e.e. cummings that gave me Small Hands. So for a month or so the book was called Not Even the Rain. 

Sandy's photograph was drawing me into a project I'd not yet been able to imagine.

And I began calling the novel A Delicate Balance, the same as the title that graces the photograph. At that moment it ceased being a novel at all, and became an imagination of something in my life I have hesitated to capture in words: marriage to three very different men and surviving the death of two of them.

The process of writing any book is a delicate balance between what we know and what we have not yet dared to know. The excitement of beginning can trick us into entering what seems simply a cave in which we might find gems. But soon the cave reveals itself to be a labyrinth along the paths of which are secret rooms, amazing turns, dead ends, darkness--all of this before arriving at the center. The center is the core of earth. The womb of being. The balance of opposites. the perfect sphere. (I'm trying not to mix my metaphor, though I fear that is what is taking place) The word, the phrase, the story in which a life makes sense.

Creating anything takes daring (as you can see from the jumble I made of that metaphor) because an artist, whether photographer or writer must in the doing of it face the truth and then present it with a balance that is beautiful.

Shall I undertake it? Shall I follow the call of Sandy Rubini's photograph? Can I? Does it matter if I fail? Maybe I need to ask that question of those husband spirits that surround me every moment I remain alive. I know I have in me an image of their love like a drop of rain at the tip of a leaf. I'm inside it. The perfect sphere reflects the perfectly coordinated rainbow light of the spirits of my three beloveds. But what else do I see and am not yet aware that I see? And will they show me?

So shall I write?


Connie Fowler said…
Hmmmm. I can't wait.
Unknown said…
I can't imagine that you would fail.
You have the gift.
Anonymous said…
pretty nice blog, following :)

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