Sunday, September 26, 2010

Unforgivable Broccoli in the Teeth

I just found out that Nicholas Cage is...Francis Ford Coppola's son? And Sophia Coppola's brother. How could I not know that?

Also, how could I not have known that there was a little green broccoli bud between my two front teeth when I went to that important political meeting the other night to meet big wigs from the state party and when I was sitting on the front row of the meeting smiling through the whole thing? How?

These things are just not acceptable.

If I'd skipped the broccoli and just gone with candy for dinner like I wanted to--stuffed my mouth with Red Vines (sounds like it's based on a plant food) and Sour Patch Kids (vegetables grow in a patch, right?) instead of that healthy stuff, I might never have caused myself to suffer the embarrassment. And now I can't even remember if embarrassment has one or two r's in it.

The Dinner of Champions:

What is forgivable, however, is an imperfect first draft. I think a lot of us authors get done with a first draft and voila! we think it's a finished product and we get all excited and show it to all our friends and family and writing group pals. Then, a few weeks or months go by and ... shoot. It doesn't look so great. The fervor for its glory cools significantly. Freezes over, in fact. We approach it with new eyes and we're horrified. Much like my glance in the mirror after returning home from the Marriott meeting with bigwigs.

However, we have to remember that first drafts are just that: first drafts. First implies that other drafts follow. Like second, third, fourth drafts. I like what James A. Michener said, "I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." We don't have to be geniuses in the first place. We just need to get the clay onto the pottery wheel so we can begin to mold it.

And how many metaphors can I fit into a single blog post? Going for a new record, I guess.

But what I'm saying is I hated seeing my imperfections of teeth (and knowledge) as much as I hate seeing first drafts' imperfections. But once that initial shock of horror passes, we need to let that subside and we can begin to look for the good things in the story and start to work from there molding it into something greater than we initially formed--make it take a shape closer to our original vision, perhaps.

But still. How could Nicholas Cage have been that guy and I not know it?


  1. Nephew of Francis, not son.

    I hate first drafts, they can be like pulling teeth and seem poor after a couple of drafts.

  2. :)
    I love that thought - first tries don't have to be perfect.

  3. Thanks, Stephen. I hoped someone would set me straight!

    Sherral, I like how you boiled that down. Good summary!


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