I’m at that tricky, frustrating, and frankly boring phase of the writing process with The Shining Ones – editing. So I wanted to get back in touch with my ‘real’ writing – see if I can remember why I started down this path in the first place.
And this is the perfect time – what with the eclipse in Leo and Mercury going retrograde – not just for editing and checking my manuscript, but for going back and questioning my motives. I’ve been doing a lot of reassessment, checking for illusions that might need shattering. There’s always a few.
Eclipses provide an opportunity to discover where you’re losing light. That’s especially true with this one because it’s in Leo, the sign of creativity and leadership. So I’ve been thinking about where I might be giving away my power and losing sovereignty. Where am I eclipsing myself?
The process of writing The Shining Ones has been torturous, to say the least. I’ll have more to say about that later, but I haven’t just been writing a book; I’ve been rethinking my whole reason for being here on this planet. And watching my dreams crumble. And my life implode.
I seem to be in a permanent state of personal eclipse.
To stop myself disappearing into the black hole in the centre of my being (or up my own arse), I need to remind myself that it’s not enough to surrender and sit in emptiness. As long as I’m here and alive, I must act. I must do something that will keep the way open for…what?
Well, that’s the question.
In lieu of answering the ultimate question of why I’m here on this planet and slowly going insane, I thought I’d do a bit of free writing on writing. This was triggered by a question posed by Laraine Herring and her Fierce Monkey Tribe in Meeting Your Inner Writer:
If my writing was a person, where would it live?
This is what came out:
In an earthship! Rainwater toilet, curved walls packed with colourful glass bottles, round windows. One side is open to the rising sun with a panoramic window and solar panels above. Outside there are all manner of whizzy gadgets to make power from nature: whirling windmills, shining orbs whizzing along tracks (not sure what that is), and a burbling fountain with water that trickles out to irrigate a herb and vegetable patch.
It’s a peaceful place full of life and energy, constantly changing and always the same. Always surprising, whimsical and fun, but serious in its intent to protect what’s precious.
The writing runs from room to room like a child, finding something interesting everywhere it looks. The sun shines and the plants grow. Birds sing in the trees and the water sparkles in the light. The writing pauses, captivated by the play of light bouncing around the garden, and sits at the window.
The desk is just large enough for a computer, open manuscript, stacks of books for research and lots of pens, scrap paper scrawled with notes, post-its stuck on pages. Reminders, images, possibilities, things to try…
Too much information? Too many possibilities? Step back, take a glass of water and go outside. Smell the air, breathe, listen. The birds have the answer.
There’s something missing from this picture: Darkness.
What I’ve described is too much on the surface – where’s the depth? The sun doesn’t always shine. Sometimes the power goes off because the generator hasn’t stored enough. The house is plunged into dark stillness. Shadows spill from every corner.
Still not going deep. Still writing from the surface. Still bullshit.
Anger now. Pointless waste of time. Why am I doing this? What did I think would come up? Do I even want to be a writer?
Ah, there it is. There’s the darkness – the real truth. The mulch and the shit that I sit in and stew.
The other side of the house is perpetual dark. That’s where you find the cesspit and compost pile. Everything that doesn’t fit in the house gets stored out back: the old junk, broken furniture, ugly pictures, forgotten memories. Doubts. Fears. Terrors.
This is where the best ideas come from. This is where the writing spends most of her time, burrowing into a self-created hole and unable to dig herself out.
If she stills and listens, she can hear the birds and the fountain out front. What is she looking for? Salvation? A secret? Peace?
She can’t be at peace out front in the sunshine if she knows there’s a huge stinking heap of shit out back. Must clean it up. Must find a way to transform it and make it useful.
That’s the word. She wants to be useful.
It has to mean something otherwise it’s just death for no reason.
What does she look like? I can’t see her face. When I try to see, my mind starts to leap about and get restless. What’s it running from?
It’s not running – that’s its nature – to change – incessantly, like Proteus. He avoids answering questions by taking a multitude of forms. That’s what my mind is doing – trying to find its own nature, the truth about what it is.
The writing is an excavation, an autopsy.
It wants to know why. How do I live? How can I be human? How do I live with myself? How can I find peace?
It’s more than curiosity. It’s a compulsion. A need as strong as breathing. I need to know why I’m here and why I feel the way I do. I need to know why I must suffer, why I can’t find peace.
Why must I always pick the scab off my wounds?
* * * * *
Whatever I do, I always seem to end up going backwards in the dark…