TBT: The Mind Trick

This is another TBT blog post from Tosca. This was orginally written in September 2014, just as The Legend of Sheba was released.

I’m thumbing through my first copy of Legend of Sheba—it just arrived on my step an hour ago. This is always a surreal moment for me. Here’s why: there’s a story I tell myself when I’m staring at the blank computer screen wondering how I’m going to fill it. I tell myself, “It’s not really now. It’s really the future. You’re standing in the kitchen, reading this book right now. The words are on the page, and some of them are familiar, and some you forgot you wrote, but they’re there, printed on the page. You’re thinking back to this moment, wondering how to write this story. But in fact, the book is written.”

I used to do this same trick when I played the piano. I was a competitive concert pianist in my teens. The only problem: I was terrified of performing. When I gave my first solo recital at age 14, I was certain I would be the first 14 year old in the history of mankind of die of a coronary. I remember standing backstage, saying to myself, “It’s not really now. The concert is over—you’re only remembering back to this moment.” And of course, at a near point in the future and ever since, that has been true.

Yes, it’s a mind trick, but in a way, it really is true. The book is already written. Time is not a straight line as we know it. And honestly, even after a manuscript is turned in and committed to print, it’s not really finished; no art ever truly is. It’s just captured at a moment in time when it’s as near complete as it can be at that moment. Sometimes we get the chance to go back and reprise a performance or revise a story. Other times we let that snapshot stand, even as the art continues to evolve, unobserved.

  • Savannah Grace
    Posted at 23:54h, 20 November Reply

    This is so great – definitely something I needed to hear right now. Thank you!!

  • Audrey Pflugrath
    Posted at 03:47h, 22 December Reply

    This is such a great post. I first read this last month when I started doing NaNoWriMo. I have since tried it when I start to feel overwhelmed writing the first draft of my new novel – and it works! Thanks, Tosca. I also loved The Legend of Sheba. I felt transported back in time. Great read!

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