I’m lucky that I never get writer’s block, or run out of ideas. It would be quite nice to get some peace one day, but for now, my head is full of so many people and stories that I struggle to sleep or get a break from them. Some of them have been around for years. They fade in and out, getting loud, only to fall quiet again. Some are new, popping up and thrusting themselves into my consciousness when they are least wanted. Some of them are being dealt with right now, while some of them are getting really, really impatient…
It was the same today. I was out walking, because walking is where most of it happens, when I get away from the home and the duties and the children, I suppose when I get the chance to become more me…Anyway, today was a day like all others. It was good the way my mind jumped from one thing to the next. A new idea for the collection of shorts related to next novel The Tree Of Rebels. I had almost forgotten about these until I heard a gunshot while walking through the woods. In my perpetual childish state, I wanted to run and duck and cower and find a tree to hide behind because the baddies were after me…instead I let my mind run, and there was this small child running through the woods, running from the gun and the men in black and the dog-like creatures she’s can’t quite believe will be allowed to hurt her…and I thought oh yes, hell yes, another short for Tales From Province 5…I forgot I already had three…I need to sort these out and get these done! They were meant to be part of the launch plan I wrote for The Tree Of Rebels ages ago…you know, because for the first time ever I’m going to try that!
Anyway, there was that, and that was really good. I pretended I was her for a while, blundering through the thorns and the undergrowth, so that was fun. Then there was the Tree Of Rebels in general. You’ll be pleased to know I am not struggling with the final draft anymore. That’s probably because I know it won’t be the final draft! So at the moment I am changing it all to past tense, instead of present. It was worth a try to see if it worked, and I think it has. I’m editing as I go of course, but what I intend to do, is change the tense, then go back to the beginning for the final, FINAL draft. And I definitely love it again. I am loving it. It is loved!
Then there were some extra bits to add to a short story I wrote the other day, which was an attempt to alleviate the urgency of an old story pushing its way forward. It keeps doing it. This story about teenage alcoholic Bill Robinson I wrote when I was 16 but abandoned for another idea…used to do that a lot back then! Anyway, Bill Robinson keeps piping up, so I wrote a short for him a while ago and put it on Wattpad and here, and that worked. It pushed him back a bit. But not for long.
You see, what happens is, I will be in the car, I’ll see a person, a face, hear some music, glimpse a building, a snippet of conversation, anything god damn it, and it will link up, it will hold on and it will grow and swell and it becomes fiction, although somehow real at the same time…so I can’t avoid it or ignore it, it just happens! So I wrote another short for Bill, but that made it worse. Some new bits came today, they’ll get added when I get time…he is not going to shut up any time soon.
And then there is Elliot Pie…quiet for now because his first draft was done, and that calmed him, that quieted him because his story is told. But even today, I got some snippets of dialogue, some expressions in my mind, some bits I need to remember…and this blog post…
I thought, god its frustrating and crazy feeling like this all the time, like there are stories and lives and stuff everywhere, and I get so impatient because I will never have the time to do it all, to say it all, to get it all out, especially when every time I leave the house I get more! But then I thought, hold on, isn’t it also the best feeling in the world? Like no other high? All that energy and life, all those possibilities, all that potential, comedy, tragedy, and drama in my head! It makes me feel so alive!
How to cope? Who to listen to? Who shouts the loudest or who has been waiting the longest? How to hold onto one thread and not drop it when another one barges in? How not to dilute the passion of one project, because another one is already tapping on the door? I will try to keep them back with shorts and notes, and thoughts that calm them. I will get to them all in time. Take a deep breath . Plot them out if I need to. Let them stew. So I do this, and I get home fast, got to rush in and get to a notebook and make a list, jot stuff down before I forget any of those things!
And then I step into the hallway and see that it needs sweeping, and the reality hits, and the toddler wants me, and oh it feels so selfish to want to push them all aside and get to my notebook before it fades… I just need to get this down, just quickly, just a few things before I forget, and my mind is always on it, always wandering here and there, always listening to the people in my head. So selfish.
Yet it’s not.
Think about it. All that sharing. Writers share their thoughts and feelings, fears and anger more than anyone else! Okay, a lot of it is made up, turned into fiction, exaggerated and so on, but at the same time it is real, because it came from us. Maybe we are like the sponge, absorbing all the lives and stories we see and hear around us, but we don’t just take it and keep it for ourselves. We put it right back out again. We share it with the world.
So I’ve decided, I will try not to feel guilty. It’s not like I can help it. I can’t stop them coming, I can’t stop seeing ideas and stories almost everywhere I look. I’ll just do what I can with the time I have, and try to remain calm. I just hope that if I am lucky enough to live a long life…I will have run out of ideas by the end of it. I want to lie on my death bed and know that there is nothing more to say! But that is probably wishful thinking.