If You’re Lost In Your Writing, Seek Out Yourself

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That post in which I included two 18th century paintings pretty much sums up my outlook on here. I enjoy posting a mix and mishmash of stuff. This blog’s supposed to be a “journal” that’s built on my writing, but I’ve discovered over these last three years that lots more touches on that than I’d originally thought.

Excerpt from "Frontiers," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

That comment in 2014’s Frontiers stems from a “Madame de StaΓ«l” observation once made by a friend longer ago than I now care to remember. I recalled it while writing that novel and decided to fit it in not only because I liked it, but also because it well-reflected what I so enjoy: chatting with friends about whatever strikes us as interesting – particularly over a drink, or two, or…. uh, who’s counting. πŸ˜‰

Back on Monday, I didn’t get much actual writing done on the new manuscript. I did do a bit more “research” reading, though; and I have also started digging through a MASSIVE diary of the era kept by a U.S. diplomat. (I love the language they employed.) However, I’ve written a bunch of pages in the last week (although I still don’t have a title), and am “well-ahead” of where I had figured I’d be with it in mid-February, and so actually feel pretty good about where I am with it overall right now.

[Photo by me, 2015.]
[Photo by me, 2015.]

Afterward, just before dark (the days here are getting nicely longer – it’s light until around 6) I took my pal out for his walk. He lives with my in-laws here in London now because we’ve moved around – especially between New York and the U.K. – so much in the last few years; but he’ll always be *MINE*. I still remember when, shortly after we got him while living down in Dorset and he was barking at someone passing our front window or something, I happened to be on the telephone (this was pre-FaceTime) chatting with my mom in New York. I’ll always recall her laughing as she said, “I hear him! I hear him!”

He’s 11 now, so who knows how much longer we’ll also have him. I’ve found a good walk (especially with him) while pondering my current writing helps me see the “bigger picture” better going forward. On that particular stroll, once again I recalled British-Indian author Ruskin Bond’s take on your life as a vital source: With memories, you always have material.

That of course has been the basis for all I’ve written so far. Suddenly I realized I could draw on my mother’s illness and death even for this 18th century tale. After all, illness and death are ultimately timeless.

Obviously it isn’t a pleasant set of memories, but I felt I could use them. I stopped, pulled out my iPhone, and tapped tapped tapped the basis for the idea down. My pal, walking off the lead, stopped too and tennis ball in his mouth (what did dogs do before tennis balls?) looked up at me as if about to say, “What are you doing?”

Thus what writing does to us.

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: I thought I’d give you a taste of that diplomat’s diary:

Screen capture.
Screen capture.

Gripping and chilling stuff. Yet he also casually mentions the weather. And he does that regularly regardless of what he’s writing about.

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