Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit expansive.
Chi-Chi and me… um, shoes?
I suppose it has something to do with the fact that Chi-Chi is going for a quarterly MRI scan on Monday (hopefully the last one). Sometimes it’s easier to back away from emotions like this and escape to happier times. You might say this is only delaying the inevitable, but perhaps it’s also a door to a deeper understanding. Let’s see if I can fail at explaining this…
I am sitting in the cafe. The sun, which until this point lay somewhere off in the trees, has just burst over the tops of the houses across the street. This reminds me of the way a story can turn in an instant from a jumble of words into a vision of beauty, into a verse of power. Then, just when you reach the pinnacle of that feeling, the sun moves a bit higher in the sky and the day (or the story) becomes like any other and you wonder how it is that you can hold onto that bit of emotion, like a dream your mind clings to when your body decides it is time to rise.
That’s a bit over the top, but I suspect that most of you have felt this way at one point or another. When you go back and read that bit of writing, you may even wonder what it was that touched you because the sentence, paragraph, or page is like so many others.
For a long time, I’ve been trying to quantify this feeling, to describe it in my journals so that perhaps I might recreate at will. Of course, this is an impossible task. It’s like trying to describe why a sudden flurry of snowflakes fills you with joy or the unexpected touch of a lover’s hand sends a flush through your body or when you take a ride on the back of a tricycle.
It simply is.
When I wrote my first novel, I was locked in a deep enjoyment of the process and the story. Every day, I woke up but stayed in bed for awhile. I laid there watching the light play against the linen curtains, the casement window cranked open to the sounds of the day. I thought of nothing in particular. Just stretching the mind as well as the body, slowly preparing to enter the world. Eventually, I got moving. I took in some exercise and then eased my way into breakfast. In good time, I sat down in a fat white chair by the bay window in our townhouse and started to write.
It would be wrong of me to say that I’ve never had an experience like that since. In fact, there are moment (like today) when the sun is just right and my heart wells up with the love of the art and the story. It fills to capacity and spills over into a deep love of the universe. It expands on through time both backwards and forwards. It cradles the tender moments of memories and embraces the long hopes of dreams.
After all, isn’t the love of life the thing that drives us to create? Do we not love our stories and our characters? And are they not reflections of the world we inhabit and therefore merely mirrors through which we bear witness to the love we feel for those around us?
I suppose that we sometimes get into the sort of writing where it is difficult to locate any tinge of love. Perhaps in the dark writing that plays home to our demons… Yet, even there, I say there is love. There must be love to drive us through the pain of creation for love is not all sunshine and roses. Love is complicated and contradictory.
When I struggle with a story, I go to my journal and write about it. I write about the struggle itself and then I write about the possibilities. Eventually, I come around to writing about why it is that I even began the story in the first place. This is not a complaining sort of why but rather a real question about the root of the story. When I examine this closely, I find the something that fits this poor description of a writer’s love that I have been trying to share here…
Still, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, life has a way creeping in to the perfect world of a writer’s love. Sometimes we say that Life is too short. I suspect that what we really mean is that the Living is too short and that’s only because we learn so late to embrace it. Rather than try to escape through fantasy or by casting beautiful veils about, we should live in the moments we have and record them with purpose.
Here then is where the light comes forth. I understand there is something else beneath the surface that I am trying to coax back into the light. I begin again with a renewed sense of purpose, to serve the writer’s love which is only a small reflection of a father’s love.
Best of luck, Chi-Chi!!!