I just got a text from my 18 year old niece. Her flight landed a little while ago in Belfast. She starts at university there on Monday.
How can she possibly be 18? Because that’s life for all of us. It’s the inevitable passage of time.
Thinking this morning about what I’ve worked on in recent days (examples are here and here) while the wife was away in Lisbon, and also in total over the last few months, I’m pleased for the moment at least.
Having finished another chapter, as I skimmed and re-read other more complete parts of that Conventions manuscript yesterday, briefly I’d disjointedly thought something along these lines:
…I love these people, the feel of the tale, the drama, the sadness, and the fun too, and what it says about time and place but that it’s also timeless. I’m getting there. That’s the goal. Always remember that. I always heard from my students they hated history because it was all about dates and stuff that they couldn’t use and that the people were so distant. If I can get the entire novel into this form, and if I die after it’s finished and I never write another thing and this ends up being my last book, I’m content…
Ideas for what you write come at you from more directions than you can begin to consciously explain to anyone who asks. You need only give them readable form. Of course it’s not only about researched “knowledge” learned from others either.
What lands on your pages is also a result of a multitude of uncountable scattered experiences, conversations, friendships, former friendships, and former more than friendships. As well as all that’s current. It includes that smile you’ve never forgotten, that joke that made you laugh, and that hug at a terrible moment that made you feel just a little bit better. And naturally there’s so much more.
An essential thought for all of you other writers out there – and which I find useful always to keep in mind. Long after you, the living writer, are gone, it’s probably not your memory that will make any ongoing impact. It is more likely to be your creations that do so.
Those words you wrote may be of incalculable importance. Don’t scoff that because you don’t think you’ll ever sell a bazillion copies that what you do is of no value. For as you may have experienced yourself while reading a book by some less than high-profile author, someday perhaps someone reads yours while sitting on a beach, at a desk, or while curled up alone in bed, and maybe what you wrote gives them a means of escape.
Someone you’ll never know may smile over a scene, be smitten by a character, or “connect” somehow with your tale. Indeed maybe what you’d written years before thinking no one really cared, in fact produces unintended real-life laughs, advice, lessons, help, and even consolation. Perhaps your book will be one that touches their heart and that they treasure.
In doing even that much, you have just made your mark on forever.
Have a good weekend. 🙂