Monday, June 3, 2013

Guest Post by author J.S. Kapchinske

J.S. Kapchinske is the author of the MG ebook- Coyote Summer.  
Writing for Buried Treasure- Guest Post by J.S. Kapchinske

We dig with our pens and pencils… We even dig with our keyboards (which is tricky business to be sure).

If we really want to do this thing, we dig, and we dig, and we dig…

We dig for treasures—those rare diamonds life has given us, some of them brilliant and glittering, some of them so sharp they cut, all of them buried somewhere in the mysterious, intangible alcoves of our hearts and minds.  Dangerous places, those alcoves, but we must venture there.  If we want to write, we have to find those treasures.  We have to dig them up, cup them in our hands, cut ourselves once more against their sharp edges.  Bleed a little.  

Then we must bring those treasures to life, cast magic upon them with the wands we bear—those pencils and pens… those keyboards (which is tricky business to be sure).

But in my experience, that’s what makes it work.  That’s the only thing that makes it work—digging deep, finding the experiences that after all these years still make us laugh or cry or dance, and then resurrecting those experiences in the form of characters that go out into the world and meet people.  How cool is that?!  How HARD is that?!

The thing is, nobody else can do it for you.  You can’t go to that vacant lot beside Home Depot and hire some inexpensive laborer to do the digging for you.  You can’t hand your kid a pick and say, “There you go, son.  Get out in the yard and dig up my treasures.  Bring them to life.  Make the neighbors cry and giggle and dance.”  Well, I guess you could say that… but you won’t get the result you’re after.

You have to do the digging.  Every day.  You have to pick up the pen or the pencil.  You have to sit in front of that keyboard, and you have to sit there long enough to peel away the layers, one after another until you’re naked and fragile like some freshly hatched bird.  And you have to stay there, even when the hawks come.  You have to wrestle with them.  Sometimes you have to lose.  Sometimes the diamonds cut.

Near the end of my middle grade novel, Coyote Summer, one of my favorite characters says, “It’s a big, beautiful, screwed-up old world, ain’t it?”  And she was right… but she didn’t just magically know that.  I had to remember.  And she had to learn.  We both had to suffer and rejoice, fall apart and put the pieces back together.  It was hard, but for our efforts we got to dance in the rain together, so wild and free in the rugged Rocky Mountains.  We got to fall in love and share a first kiss.  We got to experience the world in that perfect way that only happens when you stop everything and let yourself simply be.

It’s tricky business to be sure.  But there’s treasure to be found in each of us.  And when you find it, magical things can happen—magical things that go out into the world and fill others with your laughter and your tears.  And, really, how cool is that?!


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