Writing is such a deeply creative process. I balk at the word process because it’s more of an unfolding, a developing, and to label it with such a superficial word, lessens the experience somehow. Some would say that I’m a new writer but I’m really not. I’ve been a writer since I was nine, scribbling out poems in my bedroom at night and showing them proudly to my writer Mum the next day. I wrote stories instead of essays at school. I read a lot. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were favorites. I repeatedly read a voluminous collection of books called “Murder Mystery Collection” that belonged to my parents – about 20 little books in all and contained in each of them were roughly ten to fifteen short stories. My Mum was published in them, as was my Granddad. Lately, I recall having a collection of ghost stories, some classic and some modern day, well, as modern as the 80’s anyway and I’ve been trying every now and then to grasp their concept. When I think they are not noticing, I sneak up on the memories but they skitter away like famished hyenas into a dark night. Perhaps I don’t remember the storylines exactly but I did retain a sense of the mystery and supernatural.
For years since those creative child/teen days, I dumbed down my mind with weed, cigarettes and unhealthy relationships in order to forget, yet also relive childhood traumas. Such foggy paths I stumbled about on but the writer in me never left. Every now and then, I’d pop out a poem or start a story, almost as if I were trying to start the engine but the car had been buried in an overgrown garden for too long. Certainly, stepping back onto the stage helped drag the car into the open again and those books that I devoured as a youngster were quite possibly the inspiration for my first short story as an adult which I finished back in March. Just in time to be entered into a competition with Glimmer Train Press. I have yet to hear back from them as to whether they like it, whether they will publish it and even if it made the grade as far as the competition goes. I don’t know how long I have to wait but I check my submission page daily in the hopes for an update (a positive one) but it still remains “in process.”
A writer always writes, no matter what, so say the various blogs and articles I’ve read. If you do not write, no matter what, then you are not a serious writer. You must read too. Lots and lots. Soak it all up and spit it all out. And that’s fine if it works for you. But some days, especially lately with financial and health issues skipping merrily about, my brain doesn’t want to compute. Writing abandons me. Creativity bows out and joins those hyenas. I suppose I should slap myself on the wrist for being a terrible writer, for not having the gumption to just put something on the page, even if it is utter drivel. But I don’t. I don’t get cross at myself. Funny really, it seems to be the one area of my life where I am not critical, except when I read the finished product. Then I think everything I’ve written is shit. Until I leave it alone for a while, return to re-read and love it all over again.
I took a break after the submission of my short story so that I could join my family riding blindfolded on life’s rollercoaster. I have no idea where or when the next turn will be or where we will end up but because of this, my mind has been elsewhere; worrying about the future, worrying that I have lost my self-awareness, worrying about money, worrying about worrying. Worrying for a few weeks. However, my soul took a bit of an upswing this week, perhaps tired of being in a rut, it knocked down a few walls, despite my family’s circumstances and our unknown future.
With this upswing came an idea for a story and I have written just over 600 words today. I am in love with it. You know when you create something and you stand back to watch its progress and you admire it, you feel proud? That’s how I feel about my story so far. It has no ending yet and I’m not entirely sure of its middle either and that’s just fine with me. Perhaps I am not a traditional writer who bangs out a basic storyline first, returning to pad and fill later. I build like a snowball; I gather as I go until it’s reached the height and breadth it’s meant to be.
It has the fragility of the new as it begins its growth, yet I also have sense of its weight and even, its purpose, for me.