The Shadow

There it is again. Can you hear it? Fluttering on the edge of your consciousness, cyclically streaming through your mind – that one idea or image lurking around, howling at you like an old fishwife; and yet, it keeps getting pushed aside. Perhaps we over think it and decide it’s not a strong enough concept for a story; perhaps we are afraid to let it go, for fear nothing will take its place.

Sometimes we carry a notion around for days, weeks, even months, as if afraid to release it. The longer it lingers, the more it grows into a larger-than-life prototype and you feel you can’t find the words to do it justice. Worse yet, you might feel if you finally write it down, it won’t look as remarkable on the page as it does in your mind.

Shine a light on the face of that dark silhouette and put it on the page. The concept might not be clear but don’t wait for it to give you clarity – write it down in all its hazy splendour. Infuse life into it, write it in its most intangible form. At some point, it will have the chance to evolve into something amazing.

If an idea keeps hounding you, it’s begging to be written. Don’t worry about feeling empty once it’s purged; there will always be another one to take its place.

The Constant Notebook

I was typing away, completing some changes to a couple of stories, when my computer froze. I tried to reboot it, but it would not respond; I switched off the power, but it did not start-up again. The end had come for my laptop of six years.

I went shopping for a replacement and purchased a tablet, a lighter more compact device that boasted more capability than my laptop. The technicians said they could transfer files from my old computer and install them on the new computer – but only if there was no damage to my original hard drive. I waited twenty-four hours to hear if my files could be saved. I silently cursed for not manually backing up my last two days of edits. Now I was faced with the slim possibility that I would not be able to recover my recent work. I wandered into my writing room, and stared at the empty spot where my computer once sat. A stack of notebooks and journals reclined on the corner of my desk; on top were my printed drafts of the last two days. I smiled – even with the loss of technology, all my work still survived.

All my original ideas, outlines, drafts, images, and poetry are handwritten in soft notebooks, hardcover journals, and leather-bound paperbacks. I do most of my editing on the printed page. Computers have come a long way over the years, but technology is never perfect – it changes so fast, there’s always something newer, brighter and faster – and there’s always something that can crash. It’s a comfort to know the notebooks will always be there.

I will, no doubt, love my new and efficient tablet – but I will never underestimate the old-fashioned charm of handwriting in a notebook. The writing can’t stop simply because technology does.

A Bit of Poesy, Just for Fun

Books are a huge part of a writer’s life. We love our books. I wrote this small piece while looking at the numerous manuscripts stacked on my shelves and remembering the many times I rearranged my collection. I also thought it might be a fun way to baptise my new tablet by posting this as its first official text.

Neatly lined up like wooden soldiers, words march across colorful bindings, engaging me in secret conversation.

Their titles speak of molten sunsets, sapphire skies, twinkling nights, courageous animals, lost hikers, secret crushes, broken hearts, mended hearts, grand adventures, the wonder of our world, the mystery of new worlds, calamitous events,  peaceful moments, relationships, obsession – an unending list of chronicles waiting to be ogled by eager eyes.

And then, I sweep them from the shelf, watching them tumble like falling leaves, and I lay them out in a new order,observing a new compendium of conversation emerging  from their twisted heap.

One will be plucked from the fray to spend the night in adoring hands beneath the soft light of a reading lamp, whispering its secrets to my captivated mind.

 Happy reading everybody.

Waking Sleeping Journals

I saw a post on a lovely blog by a gifted aspiring writer who decided she was going to take on the challenge of keeping a diary for a certain amount of time.

A few weeks ago, I spent a day reading old notebooks and journals – some were only half-full, some had only had a few scrawled pages. It was a fascinating journey. I was able to catch a glimpse of my own life from a new perspective. I re-visited forgotten moments and discovered new stories in the midst of my past. I was able to purge moments of my life and use them to fill the gaps of half-written projects. I uncovered springboards to new stories in the scribble of my own words.

Our journals are stories waiting to be released. They are the curator of our lives. They allow us to breathe new life into future stories through our own experience. No matter how full or empty your pages may be, there just might be a hidden jewel waiting to be extracted.