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Tag: words

Feeling the love, baby

Heartstone I love writing. Yeah, I know, that seems obvious given the nature of this blog. But I forget sometimes, a lot of times recently. I get tangled up in all the associated ‘shoulds’ and they suffocate the wants, the love.

Language is a brilliant thing. Firstly you’ve got the words, millions of them, all with formal meanings and implied meanings and the depth of meaning that comes from usage – and sounds and rhythms and shapes on the page. And then you get to join them together in some many different ways to express every shade of thought and feeling. Love it, love it, love it.

I’ve been preoccupied with ‘works in progress’, or rather not in progress or creeping along slowly emitting that damp smell of… what? What is the right word? Failure? No, too hopeless, too easy. What’s it like? Like a mustiness that attaches to something that’s been in a cupboard for too long. You know it’s there. It’s whining quietly, like a dying puppy. Yes, really, that pathetic. I think it’s probably guilt. Yes, the damp smell of guilt. I’m picking that word from the box because if I keep looking I could be here for hours. I’ll pencil it in, like you do when you’re trying something in a crossword.

So, proper writing is not getting done and, when I pick up a pen or stroke a keyboard, a big wall of ‘you should be doing something proper’ rises up before me. I don’t have headspace right now for the sweep of my stories, so my shoulders droop and I move away. But that’s madness! Does a painter stop sketching, doodling, playing with colour because he can’t fit a canvas in his caravan? (I could muck about with lots more whimsical examples here, but that would be self indulgent because I think you get the idea.)

What have got done are a couple of Incandescent-of-Cambridge letters, some birthday messages to lovely friends and a couple of articles for the parish magazine. All fun and satisfying – how I imagine a gardener feeling when they talk about getting their hands in the earth. I’m feeling the love and I’m going to open the cupboard, feed the puppy, knock down the wall and generally frolic in a sandbox of mixed metaphors.

Wordy Rappinghood

Emma's teapots
Collage by Emma Bennett
Some days you don’t have brain space or time for joined up thoughts. So, here is a random selection of some of my favourite words. Muse. Conjure. Teapot. Scarlet. Bubble. Enveloped. Hush. Oligarchy. Gossip. Ocean. Tingle. Pumpkin. Lush. Balustrade. Shingle. Plump. Fester. Champagne. Fetid. Luscious. Lascivious. Burgeoning. Jolt. Solace. Frisky. Pedantry. Iterative. Giggle. Jiggle. Truffle. Shaft. Corpulent. Warmth. Bear (or bare). Façade. Hat. Tangier. Chill. Satanic. Twinkle. Sponge. Dollop. Knot. Peregrination. Flute. Coalesce. Lurid. Bucket. Pebble. Fandango. Pumpernickel. Fritillary. Pupate. Gorgeous. Scintilla. Prickle. Tumultuous.

From the gloom

Blood leaves Something is emerging through the gloom. And it’s a surprise. I was expecting, looking for, words. In fact, it’s pictures. And now I remember. Writing involves pictures in my head. I don’t make up the sentences, I simply write about what I see in my head and what I feel about what I see. That’s what makes the writing part easy and that’s what’s been missing. I think it started when we went for a walk in the woods. Have you noticed how what you’re thinking about makes you not just see things differently, but see different things. Clearly my mood was dark because a scattering of red leaves among green looked like splashes of blood and the roots of trees seemed to reach out like coils of pythons. The gloom I remembered a story I started once. It involved a boy watching a couple out on a walk in the woods. He lurks in the darkness of the trees in the car park watching them argue. Of course something bad happens. The story came from that darkness and spooled into my head like a film. I didn’t look for a character and a motivation. I had to work those out based on what I saw. It wasn’t about finding the words that would sound good, but about finding the ones that would communicate what was in my head. Perhaps I should finish that story and see what other pictures come to take its place.

Turkey or the egg?

Turkey or the egg
Am I depressed because I can’t write or can I not write because I’m depressed? Which comes first? This blog is becoming more of a non-writing blog than a writing blog. The lovely CF, writing mentor, published novelist and good egg, suggested two possible techniques to overcome the problem. Firstly, set yourself a small task, such as writing 500 words a day or for just an hour. Apparently this is what Marian Keyes is doing to overcome the writer’s block she has faced due to severe depression (not that I place either my writing or depression on a par with hers). However, even that seems too great a hill to climb. The other suggestion was to write some back story or a single incident from the novel I am (was) working on, something that I never intend to be part of the finished narrative. The idea is that this will remove the pressure of carrying on with the novel whilst getting me going writing about those characters and ideas again. Nope. There’s nothing there. It’s as though the creative synapses in my head are dead. Whatever is the source of original words and thoughts, I am cut off from it. Every word has to be pulled from a pit under deep brambles, dragged through sharp thorns, and all you find yourself left with is a squashed, oozy syllable. I hold pen to paper and nothing happens. I have nothing to write. My Beloved suggests, practically, that I get on with it or give up – I’m wasting his time ranting on and on about it saying the same things, apparently. I’ve always maintained that practical writing, like this blog and writing marketing and training materials, comes from a different place from the creative writing. This seems to be further proof. I don’t want proof! I want back in to that other place! (And for my aforementioned Beloved to learn more sensitivity.)