Dropping in to say hello, world. To let you know I’m well. And that the writing goes well, too. Most days.
There are lesser days, though, when nothing goes right, when I erase more than I write, and wonder why I think I can deliver this story. On those days, I’m not so well. Because the well runs dry.
Have you ever wondered how authors of other centuries wrote such beautiful stories with paper and quill and ink wells?
Writing should be easier today. Thanks to digital keystrokes. And tools like cut and paste. And no messy carbons. And no need to blot.
But no. It’s not easy. No, it’s not.
Not. Notty. Knotty. Now, there’s a word. There’s so much story in my memory that, too often, it becomes KNOTTY. I don’t know which thread to pull, first. I pull one. Then, put it back. Another. Nope. Not than one, either. God help me untangle the nots.
I’m learning to back away on ‘lesser’ days. To leave the blank screen and go outside for fresh air. What is it about a blank screen that causes words to die? And what is about being outside in the garden that invites words to come? Complete sentences, mind you. One pretty line after another. Ones I’ve never thought before. Ones that feel so right I rush back in to preserve them. Lest I forget.
My ghostly grandfather, who plays a prominent role in ‘my’ story, must be worried about something. He’s been dropping into my dreams the last two weeks. A few nights ago, he told me I needed to season the story a little. Then, handing me what looked like an ordinary salt shaker — he told me to “just shake some of “this” on it.” That “it” would help my stories sort themselves out. “Just like cream rinse helps tangled hair.”
It’s funny how dreams work. I mean, really — salt shakers with secret seasoning? But, every since Papa seasoned it…..
How I wish I knew that secret recipe so I could share it. But here’s a dreamy thought — send me a link, and I’ll forward Papa to you through a dream.
I brought you a present. Here’s a link to a pdf of Jonah Lehrer’s The Eureka Hunt, originally published in The New Yorker magazine.
If you haven’t read it, you’ll love it. Be patient with the science – there are nuggets scattered throughout. If you have read it, you’ll probably end up doing what I do – rereading it from time to time just because it’s so completely on-target. Well, at least for me.
And what a fine gift it is. As you say, a keeper.
It took me a bit to read it. Life is fragmented at the present, so I read a little here and there, as I found time to read.
It was both encouraging and inspirational. Instead of being frustrated when I hit that mental brick wall, I’ll now realize it’s just part of the terrain I must cross for break-through to come. And that it WILL come. As long as I back away, to give my mind the space to create. Marvelous.
I’m really interested in your query in the first part: why’s writing not easier today? Yes, pen and ink or like Jane Austen, writing on smal scraps of papers on whatever spot she could find. However, from your post too, I can find the gratification of having time out just to think and write, or … dream and write. Enjoy!
I didn’t know about Jane Austen and her scraps of paper. I do that, too. You to it, too, don’t you, with the post-it markers you leave behind in pages of books you’ve planned to review? So, I suppose, some things on writing never change.
Sometimes, I wonder, if holding a pen and paper to write (instead of “trying” on sentences and easily changed lines of thoughts with my computer) might be the more thoughtful way of writing.
Too much for me to think about tonight. I’ve been sitting by my daughter’s bedside a good portion of today — she had surgery early, early this morning — and I’m exhausted. I’m heading off to bed and the world of dreams. With hopes of finding sleep.
My get-well wishes to your daughter, hope she is recovering well. As to Jane Austen’s writing, this is what I meant. Since paper was not in abundance, she wrote neatly on small sheets in a ‘cross-hatching’ style. Here’s an excellent photo showing that actual image.
Thank you, Arti. She’s on the rebound, and for this, we’re thankful.
And also for the link. I found Jane’s ‘cross-hatching’ lovely. Creativity with chaos. But the two do go hand-in-hand. The exhibit helps me see how she collected ideas on those loose slips of paper — to later weave them into her story. Like an artist might mix paint on a palate before applying it on canvas.
Tomorrow, I’ll post my final thoughts on MC. It’s been quite the journey and I’m glad to have shared it with you.