Although we’ve been back in the midwest for well over a decade, my husband and I lived for several years in Tucson, Arizona. In that state, there are twenty-one federally recognized tribes of Native Americans. Some are famous, such as the Navajo, Apache and Hopi, and some are less familiar, like the Paiute, Pima, Tohono O’odham and the Cocopah. Many are known for their ceramics, baskets and silver jewelry, but the Pueblo Indians are particularly renowned for their distinctive earthenware pots.
Traditionally made by crushing shards of old pottery and mixing them with freshly dug clay, a long roll is coiled to form a new pot. The ridges are flattened to create a smooth wall, and then a slip of pigment is washed over it. After being polished, paint is applied and the pot is fired in a backyard oven. Some pots crack in the heat, but when well crafted, many end up in the homes of collectors.
This, to me, is a lot like writing a novel. Each author begins with knowledge gleaned from years of school and personal experiences, combined with a new idea. Coiling words into a rough vessel, the writer smoothes the first draft into shape, polishing by going over it again and again to find extraneous words, vague descriptions, inauthentic dialogue and typos. The final touches are added, and then it is on to the fire of rejection by agents and publishers. Many won’t make it, but if well crafted, some have a chance.
Of course, then the author has to develop a web presence, spend their advance on a marketing campaign and create a book trailer, but that’s another post. 😉