Far and Away: A Writers Dream

J.G. Chayko on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

There’s something romantic about stories of writers who have the means to travel to other places, live there for a few months and write. This is the dream we all have as writers. We imagine a cabin in the woods, a quiet desk at the window with a view, wildlife roaming freely through a lush forest; we long for a patio on a cliff hanging over the ocean, waking each morning to the whisper of waves breaking on the shore or a vibrant sunset kissing the whitecaps at twilight, perhaps a glass of wine at our side. We envision an elegant apartment in New York overlooking Central Park, and we bow to the illusion that if we could be in any of these places, we will finish the great novel, that bestseller we’ve been working on for months, maybe even years.

This is the fairy-tale we tell ourselves. It’s a lovely fantasy to think we can pack up for six months out of the year and burrow away in a cottage on the beach, but the truth is there’s no guarantee we will be any more productive in that space than in our parents’ basement. It’s a form of procrastination. We’re tricking ourselves into an idealized version of a what a writer should be and do.

We may not have the resources to travel to New York, Greece, Italy or any other exotic city to complete our novel, but we do have the power to garner inspiration from the outside world in the place we call home. There are glorious sunsets to be seen in our own backyard, serene parks with their own fertile beauty, lakes and shorelines that rejuvenate and inspire. We can make our own writing space as comfortable and inviting as possible. We can put up posters, hang pictures, rearrange furniture, paint, listen to music, infuse the air with soft aromas, construct our own Feng Shui to sit down get the job done.

We shouldn’t have to travel anywhere beyond our own imagination. We have the distinct power to design our own inspiring location within the stories begging to be told. The work itself should be enough to transport us far and away. Fire up the computer, turn on the music, sit down and start writing. You’ll be amazed at the places you find yourself.

Vacancy

Aviary Photo_131047800285478307The blank page is the writers’ canvas. Don’t be intimidated by its stark whiteness, its vacant stare, its arrogant lines undulating across the page – know it is there to fuel your imagination and give you permission to write anything you desire. It is not there to restrict or impose rules but to inspire, to animate and excite. The blank page is the window to new worlds, new characters, new places, new happenings – it invites you to write down every emotion, memory, secret or vision. It is our friend, our rival, our therapist, our lover, and our companion. It plays devil’s advocate driving us to reveal our most intimate thoughts – and out of the jumble that gushes onto the page, we will unearth the stories we are destined to cultivate.

 

Resuscitating Dreams Through Story

Last night I was out to dinner with family. My better half’s father is a professor at the university in our city, and he talked about his work and the many changes happening around the campus. The conversation prompted a nostalgic drive to the university grounds. He wanted to show us the sweeping changes happening around the campus – parks and fields being replaced by condos, parking lots transforming into new student buildings, and shopping malls – all the modern changes of our century springing up in a contained community. During this drive, my eyes were drawn to the old student housing, as yet untouched by the construction surrounding them. I could not look away from the old-fashioned picturesque buildings tucked in amidst the modern structures popping up around them. They looked exactly has I had imagined them when I was young. I’d always dreamed of attending university, and living on campus.

I love learning; school was never a burden for me. I was like a sponge wanting to soak up every drop of knowledge. My life took me on a different route, and I wouldn’t change it because it led me to my life today, but by taking this impromptu tour of the university grounds, I uncovered the possibility of resurrecting my unfulfilled dreams through storytelling. There was no reason I couldn’t return to this place, camera in hand, capturing the images that sparked my imagination. I returned home with the key to unlock fresh inspiration needed to carve out new tales and animate longstanding stories with new life.

I discovered unleashing dormant dreams is a great way to ignite new creations. The past always has stories waiting to be uncovered; it doesn’t matter if it’s your reality or your dreams, driving back to the stories that have endured throughout the years can bring them into the future.