A different ink identified each year: 1956 was green and 1957 a ribbon of red, replaced the following year by bright lavender, and now, in 1959, she had decided upon a dignified blue. But as in every manifestation, she continued to tinker with her handwriting, slanting it to the right or the left, shaping it roundly or steeply, loosely or stingily – as though she were asking, ‘is this Nancy? Or that? Or that? Which is me?’ (Once Mrs Riggs, her English teacher, had returned a theme with a scribbled comment: ‘Good. But why written in three styles of script?’ To which Nancy had replied: ‘Because I’m not grown-up enough to be one person with one kind of signature.’) Page 55
I get you Nancy. I was thinking the same thing, kinda, sort of, when I looked over my Novella and thought to myself ‘wow, this is all over the place’. I was referring to the tone and style.
I don’t count myself as not being grown-up enough to have my own style but I what I do know is that it still surprises me when that style evolves. Usually, it involves a piece of work that I go back to and I think, ‘wow, this is all over the place.’
I think of it like the growing pains you used to have as a kid, like, for a while, it hurts and you’re all, ‘what is going on’, but then what emerges is a stronger version of yourself. It’s basically just the force that’s needed to get over a plateau.
I suppose its comforting then to still experience that with writing, all things considered. And probably explains why I’ve been a little off my game recently. But, finally, I feel back to to some kind of form, because the stuff I’ve been writing in the last week or so certainly feels like I’m entering a different phase.
Of course writing is so tied into your psyche and identity that you can become reticent to change – but Nancy’s approach and her way of looking at it is the correct way.
Experimenting with form and style is good and that’s basically been the big change in my own writing – I’m starting to write with more freedom and incorporating different elements. They’re things that have been occurring naturally and now I see that my novella was an arena for some of those growing pains to work themselves out.
Still, she had progressed in recent months, and it was in a handwriting of emerging maturity that she wrote, ‘Jolene K. came over and I showed her to make a cherry-pie. Practised with Roxy.Bobby here and we watched TV. Left at eleven. Page 55
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
— Ernest Hemingway