I read somewhere that every story has a secret heart, and when you edit what you write, it can either take you closer to the heart of your writing, or further away from it. I’ve never read anything more true. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Tearing out the pages that don’t seem right and rewriting them. Destroying old pieces of work and recreating them.
It can be hard to drown out the noise of the world and listen to the heartbeat of what you’re doing. I am constantly pulled away by distractions, by events that make me feel a certain way and take me further away from the heart of what I’m doing. But I’m shovelling with great effort to get to where that heart is. Some days I’m too tired to lift the shovel and I make little progress; some days I don’t know if I’m even excavating in the right place, towards the right direction. But other days I feel it so loud in my being, the drumming of a heart that beats where home is. And I push towards it.
When I was in foundation studies a few years ago I had an english teacher, Emilija, who, though small in stature, had a piercing voice and a presence bigger than anyone who stood in the same room as her. I could see in her eyes that she had high expectations of me. For some reason my teachers always have. I remember, while talking to her in class one day, Emilija said to me, “There are people who fail under pressure, and there are people who rise like phoenixes. You have to rise.” Oh, Emilija. If you could see how hard I’ve been trying, to rise.
I think about her words a lot. I wonder where she is now.