Writing Challenges in Black and WhitePosted March 31st, 2011 by Thomas Norman DeWolf
When I wrote Inheriting the Trade the biggest challenge I faced was finding the time. With Gather at the Table, the challenge is working with my partner.
Don’t get me wrong. I love working with Sharon Morgan. We work well together. We challenge each other. We “push” each others “buttons.” This “black and white” thing is a challenge. Yet we’ve been working together for going on two years now without a major blowout. So something must be going right with this project, eh?
The challenge isn’t being together. The challenge is being apart.
I live in Oregon. Sharon lives in New York. Passing chapters back and forth is easy enough by email, but talking through the major issues and the smaller thoughts–each sentence–ain’t so easy from 3,000 miles apart.
I’m now gratefully wrapping up a full week of staying at Sharon’s house. We’ve spent all day–every day–writing. What a treat to pause in the middle of a paragraph and be able to say, “Hey Sharon, what do you mean by…” and for her to do the same with me.
The ability to sit side-by-side at her dining room table–dueling laptops flying–and walk through a chapter, sentence by sentence, simply can’t be duplicated with a cell phone conference call. I sort of dread Sunday when I’ll catch a train back to New York City, on my way to Detroit, knowing that the magic of working together this week will disappear (at least for now). As much as we hoped to accomplish… we didn’t accomplish all we hoped to. And yet, I also love the fact that I’ll rejoin my godson Adrian in Queens on Sunday for a day of play… yet this book will not write itself.
Future opportunities will present themselves. Sharon and I will soon embark on a 5,000 mile, 15-state road trip of research and discovery through the South and Midwest. Laptops ablaze, we’ll speed across America in search of racial healing and we will write about it.
We’ll let you know how it goes.
Eastern Mennonite University
Harlem Book Fair
Phillis Wheatley Book Award
Post Racial Society
Summer Peacebuilding Institute
Tulsa race riot
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