walk the steel


Circe Invidiosa, John William Waterhouse

“Walk the steel”, construction parlance, what ironworkers do striding hundreds of feet above the ground, stepping deftly along the steel beam skeleton of a high-rise building under construction with nothing between them and great rectangles of air but a four-inch iron plank.

I’m in a chair, feet solidly on the floor, at work on A Lamentation of Swans, mentally walking the steel of this skeletal novel, trying not to step off into space and lose what I’m aiming for. I write because I love it and have no wish to do anything else as far as making a living goes. (Have not quite crossed that bridge yet but I’m on my way.) I do become frustrated and despairing sometimes, but I can deal with those gremlins–afterall, it’s only myself I’m frustrated with, not the work itself.

The work itself is a joy and an adventure. The work is fairy dust flung into the air; a dream I want to weave into reality; it’s that glimmering mirage on the horizon; it’s the light pulling me toward heaven, and I’m not about to turn away. I’ll walk the steel until the book is done, and then, I’ll start all over again with another ’cause nothing compares to the delight I experience when words breathe life into something I’ve imagined.

2 thoughts on “walk the steel

  1. Think of the Magician card in the Tarot deck — he takes what is on the astral, passes it through himself, and his skills, and creates something tangible. That’s what you’re doing with SWANS.

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