I did not leave my building once all weekend. The in-house gym, a freezer full of lovely food, and a coffee-table laden with books all served me well.

The notes begin to add up; to gather volume to themselves, and import. And as they do, a strange and wonderful thing begins to happen.

From the breadcrumbs I have dropped to mark my way, a story begins to emerge. From the emotional buoys I create to anchor my drifting thoughts, I find startling directions of plot and people-logic. Shit happens. Why happens.

I have begun to see shapes emerge from the fog. I have found a chapter-end that sounds all the desirable uh-ohs that a good portent should sing into the writer’s (and reader’s) head. I have even been given an ending which is glorious—one which may or may not ever see daylight. One character has stepped up to claim a place I had never expected him to have, a huge role, surprisingly rich.

The value of some of these points is too early to detect. Some of them serve me in no way more substantial than the handle I’ll need to open the door to a character. Some of them are directions about how to fall in love.

Were the elements already assembled in my reasoning, only to fall out in fragmented bits ready to be put back together at a later date? I don’t know. I’m not sure that I care. I’m beginning to find a story. A tale. A world. And every time it happens, it surprises me.

These are the campfire days of the writer’s life. The days in which we sit in the darkness of ourselves and let the story make itself up as it goes along. We give ourselves to the firelight, the scary footsteps in the shadows, and we let ourselves be carried away. We thrill at the derring-do of the created act. We walk at the cliff’s-edge of our imagining selves. We cover our heads with our sleeping bags and tremble at the power of illusion. We wait for the sun to rise and show us that the log, the rock, the chill are not as scary as the tale made them seem.

At the end of long days of commerce-writing and long weekends of pulling thoughts out of the night, this is the reminder I need to move ahead bravely. Which is the other side of the story I must continue to tell myself.

 

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