You know how when you take down the tree, there is this void, this emptiness?
Well, to mitigate this emptiness, to fill it with something amusing (if not piney and sparkly) I do a big jigsaw puzzle every year.
Here’s this year’s puzzle:
And here is the progress of 2 days:
As I’m working I am noticing that putting together a puzzle is a lot like writing a book.
First you find the edge pieces (the boundaries, the scope of the project), in my case, a time boundary: 1 year.
Then you study the image on the box and begin to find pieces that match the colors. (This is the hard part.)
The image of what I want my book to look like is really fuzzy at this point, but I do have quite a few pieces.
When you find puzzle pieces that fit together there is always this little frisson of joy–even if there are still hundreds of pieces left –because you know you are “getting there” and the image is beginning to come together.
I’m studying the image on box a lot at this point, then pawing through the pieces, looking for that one that’s mostly green but with some flecks of brown in it, and the lavender one with the blue.
I know that piece is in the box, and that is the supreme security of a jigsaw puzzle. You know all the pieces are there; your job is simply to find them and put them where they belong.
But when it comes to a book, there is no assurance that all the pieces are there. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re not. And that means I’m going to have to make them, and then make them fit.
(Did you ever want to take scissors and cut a puzzle piece to fit? Me too!)
You know, you can actually do that with a book.
And that is why it is so very excellent to be a writer.