Monday, 19 November 2012


Right, you have a room of your own, you have squeezed some hours from your schedule and you have a great idea burning a hole in your imagination.  All you have to do is start writing. Yeah, right. So what stops you?

My own experience is that it’s usually interior issues that derail the process, not external ones. You know, the whisper in your head that says your writing isn’t that good, that you’re wasting your time and, is that what you’re really here for anyway? Or that confrontation with a colleague or family member that, while smoothed over, has left you feeling out of kilter. It’s all that stuff that camps in the inner sanctum of our being that causes a vague uneasiness.  On the outside, in the ‘real’ world, we attempt to conform things to the ideal, but inside, there’s chaos.

This was brought home to me this week by two unconnected events. A Face Book friend was spending time in an idyllic setting, away from home, in an attempt to re-ignite the writing fire.  At the same time, I began reading The Mystery of Grace by Charles De Lint, an urban fantasy novelist. Both illustrated the point that we don’t deal with interior issues by changing our surroundings. My friend hoped that by substituting an idyllic setting and solitude for the real world, she would sort out the doubts and write freely. Charles De Lint’s characters realise that “wherever you go, you take yourself with you. That’s the way it is when you’re alive, and it doesn’t change after you’re dead….Our baggage stays with us until we deal with it.”  

My friend has recourse to God and a higher reality, while De Lint’s main character, Grace, is marooned between heaven and hell. Will they discover where they belong? Will they find fulfillment? I’m not worried about my friend, but if you’ll excuse me, I must finish the book and find out about Grace.

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