I have a photograph of a baby duck that my daughter took a few years ago. I was with Jean at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden when she caught the magic moment of a duckling swimming past lily pads, leaving a ripple in the water behind her (I've decided the duck is a girl). And this is one small, determined duck, clearly on a mission, going where no duck has gone before. Jean calls the photograph "Vroom" — an excellent, action word. Those who vroom do more than move forward or run, they rev their engines and blast off. And a duck who vrooms is a very special beast. Ducks speak to me — metaphorically, that is. Years ago, I ended a book with a duck who entered the last scene and showed what it meant to be a survivor.
I have put my new book to bed, Close to Famous (available in February 2011), and have begun another novel. Perhaps that's why I am thinking about the creative path ahead of me. I keep wanting it to be straight and clear — it never is. But, I still must begin with as much power and surety as I can muster. The German poet Goethe wrote, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." Power is released when we start something — it's less about feeling, less about inspiration, it's about getting in the water, stretching our wings, and taking off across the pond. We've been made for that, you know.