A Learning Curve

Here they are! Arriving simultaneously in my head, two short story plot lines complete with titles.  The catalyst, my deciding to walk to the lighthouse, something I had thought about doing since moving to live in Port Lympia the first, a name I read somewhere in a news article, the subject of which I no longer recall, the second. The two plot ideas are quite different, both one to another as well as aspiring to branch out from the basic romances  that constitute the bulk of  my previous work.

I hope this is all part of a learning curve.

No one, it has been pointed out, ever had a huge success with their ‘first’ book. It may seem to be a first when the acclaimed best seller by a previously unknown writer is suddenly hailed at the latest must read. However, as was pointed out in a post on the word press blog Novelty Revisions, this person has probably written ten unpublished novels before this one was taken up resulting in the author being catapulted into  sudden renown.

This is just one small example of insights and advice about writing by writers who clearly understand what you are trying to do. Their perception of the doubts, as well as pitfalls which assail, as it turns out, all writers, born from personal experience as well as technical prowess, can send us soaring onto that new curve.

Before we realize it we are looking down on the place where we were discouraged. It is like seeing the sunlight filtering through the spread wings of a seagull, suddenly we are soaring with him, seeing ourselves clearly again. Who we are, who we aspire to be. This is innocent, devoid of guile or conceit. It is simply striving to leave something of beauty in this world.20190128_093239.jpg

 

 

Skating on Thin Ice

Over the years I have become an adept.

With little trepidation the trapper in Jack London’s tale, To Build a Fire, took to the trail on the frozen river knowing it to be fraught with hidden dangers. His self-confidence, out-weighing his misgivings was, in the end, fatally misplaced.

He knew the risks; there were warning signs. The trek alone to the camp in the depths of an exceptionally cold spell, even his dog sensed the danger. Older more experienced trappers had told him of the possible consequences, the safety net of never undertaking such a journey alone. The necessity of having someone, or something, to fall back on if things should go wrong.

For some time it never once occurs to him that he may not reach his destination safely before nightfall. When after a mishap he is forced to light a fire and rest, his meditation is on his own ability and confidence to overcome the odds rather than the overwhelming evidence of experience and of the facts. He was taking an immense risk and those facts were cold and hard indeed, both literally and figuratively. He presses on anyway, by this time, even if he were to entertain misgivings, there is no going back. He cannot retrace his steps and he is running out of time.

When fear begins to take hold of him and the worst of them are realized, it is too late.

For years I believed I would get to my own destination before nightfall.

Skating on thin ice.Monte Carlo & before sept oct 2013 284

 

Something to be kept secret.

The American romance writer, Anita Shreve was born the same year as myself. She died last year of Cancer after a ‘long battle’, as it is often somewhat euphemistically described. It is a battle our besieged bodies fight within us, our conscious selves have few weapons other than attitude and perhaps diet.

We both began writing at a very young age but it took me a lifetime to approach my writing seriously, to focus. She however, published the first of her prolific catalog of work in 1975. Possibly the most well-known of which, The Pilots Wife was made into a film.

In an interview she gave in the Guardian in 2008 she called writing ‘a solitary pursuit’. In this she echoed my own observation and it seems to me by definition, this goes hand in hand with a certain loneliness. However, it is a loneliness which somehow gives rise to inspiration and thus becomes a necessary part of the creative character.  It was at first, she said, ‘ something to be kept secret’.

I saw myself scribbling away, twelve years old, immersed in a world of characters I preferred to real people. That these stories were to be kept other than secret never once occurred to me then.

The well-spring is very private.

 This being the case, publishing lays one bare to hurtful disregard for our carefully expressed thoughts.

Later it became a way to express emotions I had no idea what to do with.

If someone were to ask me to give one reason why I write, realizing that what I write is of little interest to most people, I could do no better than to quote the above.

Finally, it morphed into its present incarnation; daydreaming with a lot of craft brought to bear on what makes it to the page.

I am working hard on the craft, the daydreaming comes naturally.

 

All above quotes by Anita Shreve.

vous rêvez seule