Equally I could add quilting to that title, but today’s quote truly hits home for me when it comes to prose. I found this quote literally in a drawer; been cleaning out here and there, and here was this collection of sentences, not even a name to go with it. Here’s the quote, and at the end of this post, I’ll add the author. Perhaps you won’t even need the prompt.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.
When we lived in Great Britain, I played around with words; journal entries, poems, faith-based essays too. But my heart and soul ached to spin a fictional tale; I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Yet I was busy, embracing life in a different country, homeschooling three kids, cross-stitching like there was no tomorrow. Oh and putzing around with literature but not in a wholly fulfilling manner.
I liked my meanderings with pen and paper, but how I longed for a project far deeper than two or three pages at a time. (Be careful what you wish for; you might find an enormous Hawk loitering from the corner of your eye….)
Now I look back at those years with such fondness, both for the thrill of England, being at home with my kids, stitching and crocheting and…. I was growing in faith and knowledge for all the words that tumbled with ease from eighth grade C+ typing fingers which hit like a tornado once we returned to America, to my home state of California. All those authorial dreams came true in the Golden State; I wrote and wrote as if those airborne castles were as sturdy as ones enjoyed in the UK; Skipton was a fave, plus how many abbeys and cathedrals and massive stone monuments that weren’t going anywhere.
I did it; I actually became a writer!
But, before we moved home, ahhh…. Sometimes a dream haunts, tearing down that which we have managed in the here and now. I was fortunate that wishing to write fiction never ate away at me, maybe I was too occupied with my life as a wife and mum. However, my dream made an impression on my eldest, who in our last autumn in Yorkshire urged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Suddenly I had a focus for this desire, and I grasped it with both hands, and have yet to relinquish the reins of that horse. The Hawk might be lingering, but it’s not all that far away.
I suppose I could use Henry David Thoreau’s quote not only to bolster writing hopes, but to also remind myself the end is near. Or it’s closer; every day I reread that book, I’m closing in on the day more writing commences. I long to tell anyone who dreams of writing that your dream is possible, one word at a time. That is how to build the foundation, and sometimes it requires as much sweat and labour as those who constructed Fountains Abbey, Byland Abbey, and York Cathedral. But it is indeed doable, and with every written word, the dream is solidified as part of your nature, as necessary as breathing. I love to sew and cook, I don’t even mind throwing clothes in the wash. But I need to create stories via written language. Some stories are better than others, some will never see the light of day. But for whatever reason they had to be written, if for no other purpose than to push me toward the next.
And to make that next tale less grammatically cumbersome, you see.
Regardless of the shape and scope of your dream, don’t permit it to waft so far above you that it becomes irretrievable. Every castle is conquerable; the ruins of Fountains Abbey were one of our favourite places to visit. Now it stands not as a solitary fortress for monks, but as an open, teachable vista where imaginations can liberate the most impossible idea. I think Thoreau could have substituted abbey for castle; either way, step by step, word by word, build toward your dream. The bliss upon reaching that goal satisfies in a most beautiful, soothing way….