You’ll forgive me if I allow my thoughts to meander across this blog post, with no predetermined destination or strategic direction. It’s been a very long time since I’ve given myself permission to blog aimlessly, and this seems to be a good kind of night for it.
I could, of course, dive into the topical events and issues from the last week or so. Lord knows there are enough topics to dissect, interpret and muse upon. But I’ll put those aside. That’s not where my head is at.
Instead, I’ll be simple and plain with my words.
I love my wife.
There will be some of you who have never had the experience of having someone invest the full extent of their faith in you. I hope someday you have that happen.
Even more so when the faith is given to you on speculation of your ability to live up to it. I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I don’t know who, exactly, I’ll be when I get there. But she believes that it’s worth it. She believes I’m worth it.
And now for your amusement, a tour through one of the cluttered creative areas of my mind. Here’s a quick glimpse into the complicated and convoluted fictional narrative that fills my thoughts.
We’ll start with a song with just the right lyric. Sometimes, it’s just a single line. The words being sung evoke an emotional response from me. While I’m caught in the swell of emotion, I start to build a story around the lyric. It’s not enough for me to just feel the sentiment, I need to come up with a context for it.
I think we all do this to some extent when we’re young, putting ourselves into the story as the main character. Luckily, I have a whole stable full of existing and potential imaginary characters that I can plug into these scenarios, so I can stop making it a daydream fantasy about myself. On the other hand, aren’t all my characters just extensions of myself? Maybe it is all about me.
So last week, a song came on and set the creative machine in motion. This time, however, I took it to a new level of complexity. The story based on the lyric involved 2 as yet unwritten characters, reaching a point of crisis and conflict in their relationship that had been building for several years.
And then I pulled back from that immediate scene and found a way to connect this one story (still about characters that don’t even really exist yet) to 2 other stories, only one of which is currently actually in existence. I was mapping out a multi-story arc plot crossover event where 2 of the 3 story arcs aren’t real, and won’t be real for several years. I had to draw a colour-coded chart to even begin to understand any of this, and I’m still turned around. Complicated!
By accident at first, and then by design, I was pretty much off the electronic grid this weekend. Minimal to no emails, phone calls, facebook, twitter, or general internet browsing. It started Friday night while playing board games with friends. In a momentary pause in the game, I dug out my phone and went t check my email, when the host asked why I was on my phone during the game. I took a second to think about it, and realized that I didn’t have any good reason for checking. It was reflexive.
As the weekend went along, I discovered the quiet created by being off the electronic grid was giving me a calm peace of mind that had been missing. I’m not bad mouthing the internet (I still love you internet, honest) but I got a lot of thinking done. Creative thinking, as it turned out, complete with a handful of tiny but meaningful epiphanies.
The first one: compulsively checking my email and social media keeps me distracted and puts me into a reactive frame of mind where I wait for the outside world to give me direction. On the weekend especially, email/social media can be put on pause for the majority of the time.
Second: Common wisdom says writers should read a lot. I never bought into it fully. The giant pile of plot ideas, and narrative elements that occurred to me this weekend as I chewed through a novel has now proven to me that reading the work of other authors is a very good way to fire up my own creativity. (and, BTW, reading and pondering count as work)
Third: having fun lets my brain recharge. I played about 8 hours of boardgames over the weekend (thanks mostly to my very kind wife giving me leave to be frivolous). That’s a little bit more time than I’d prefer to spend on leisure in a 24 hour span, but it did completely erase the built up stress and fatigue from a couple of busy weeks. Did I mention how much I love my wife?