26th December 2014
After waxing lyrical in last week's blog about not having my writing flow interrupted, Christmas and family have descended and done just that. But it's only a few days, and I can juggle the story in my head for that long. I may not be at my desk figuring out how to rob a national museum, but the play is going on like some silent movie in the space between my ears and the intent remains unchanged. It can even be productive to let the plot go down into the unconscious and let it sit a while. There's only so much that the space between our ears can generate. Stephen King purports to take no holidays and can be found tapping away at his typewriter (literally) on Christmas day, but it seems to me at that point you start to lose touch with life itself and are in danger of reconfiguring reality according to the self which is not a desirable thing, since the writer is there to reflect reality not create it.
It's a fine line, as most things are: You have to have enough hubris to step over the line, but you should be careful when you do and always have a good exit strategy. You have to immerse yourself in the world you are creating, but never lose sight of the fact that this is fiction and a larger reality exists that puts your vision in some kind of a context. Perhaps artists walks a thinner line between sanity and the dark place, but my advice to writers is to make like good pagans and not lose sight of the light.
This Christmas/Solstice holiday time is precisely about that: from here on in, the stretch of daylight gets longer, and that is a good direction to be moving in. Before the christians took over the season, people in every corner of the earth naturally celebrated the turning back towards the light. As humans we are naturally heliotropic, which is why insanity lies somewhere over there in the darkness.
So it is all good. Call it what you will, install whatever religious icons you have to, but the world spins on towards the light and takes our spirits with it. We can't help it.We are the sunflowers of winter, naturally unfurling towards the sun.