Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finding the Stillness

Things have been busy, which is part of the reason blog posts have been few and far between. The other reason has been that I kept dismissing all the ideas that came to mind. I think some of that stemmed from the busy flutter of the past few weeks, and some of that stemmed from the fact that I wrapped up the rough draft of the third Necromancer's Inheritance book and felt all tapped out after that. My brain needed some time to recharge.

Although I'm working on flash fiction and getting geared up for an online class, I'm in a lull between major projects. Lulls are good. We can't always live on the crest of the wave. Sometimes we have to come down into the trough. It's the only way to keep moving along. I used to be horrible at lulls, though. But that changed after I had a child.

So calm and peaceful
When you have a little child, you are constantly running after them, helping them get something to eat or drink, teaching them how to use the toilet and get dressed, and later how to ride a scooter or a bike. When you have a job on top of that, you're constantly getting them to and from school or daycare, thinking about what to make for dinner or when you'll fit in that trip to the grocery store. Even when you're home from work in the evening, you can't sit and catch your breath because there's a little person demanding something.

But when kids are older, they can play by themselves or with other children for a little while. At least, until they decide to climb on top of the castle on the playground equipment fifteen feet off the ground and act like they're going to jump off. Then your heart kicks into high gear and you're screaming like a crazy person at them to get down right this instant. But in those moments when they're playing nicely, you can just sit there and finish your thoughts and let your mind wander without interruption or just let it go blank. It's a lull in an otherwise hectic day, and it's precious.

For me, these lulls allow me to sink deeper into myself and let my subconscious be in charge for a little while. My subconscious makes a lot of my creative decisions. It works on problems while I'm doing other things, but if I don't have the chance to check in with it once in a while, it gets snarky and lets those ideas go. Sometimes it's when I'm doing nothing that my mind is working best. So these lulls are good. The frantic, half-finished thoughts get finished or filed away for later, and I enjoy simply sitting and being. It's so nice to enjoy warm sun and birds singing and the sensation of having absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go at the moment because it's about as rare as a unicorn farting rainbows. It allows me to rest my mind and body so I'm ready for what comes next.

I'll leave you with a quote from Gore Vidal: "Many writers who choose to be active in the world lose not virtue but time, and that stillness without which literature cannot be made."