Letting Off Steam!!
To me writing is a way of life as you can see nothing stops me. If you don’t have a pen or laptop with you then something is wrong, the world and universe are out of kilter. If your desk is not littered with books, paper, and other stuff you are not part of your work but if you let your wife anywhere near your desk YOU ARE NOT SERIOUS about writing. In my early days of writing my wife would tidy my desk and I could not find anything drove me nuts, but no more my desk is my writers world and no ones allowed to touch it. Beside my desk is a chair which holds the ‘toys’ (collected from various places) and my dictionaries, some of which the covers are held together with sellotape these are a must when using old long ago forgotten words.
It’s strange how some of our best ideas have come from our drives to the coast. Yes I did say our. My wife and I discuss story lines, plots, angles or whether I am looking at the story with eyes of those times or modern-day eyes. But its the times when I’m struggling with my writing and get frustrated that I utter the immortal words “fancy a drive to the beach and coffee?”. No asking twice, wife’s grabbed her bag and is pushing me out of the door towards the car, THATS when I know I’ve been showing signs of ‘Michael’s Numbness‘. Unlike ‘writers block’ ‘Michael’s Numbness’ is the time when I can’t get the story to flow because I can’t find the information I need, then realise that it wasn’t there in the first place, and all my huffing and puffing was for nothing. It’s not being impatient, it’s just not seeing things clearly because my head is stuck in a particular part of the story at a particular point and wont move on, ‘wood for the trees syndrome’.
Talking of which in this hot weather I often sit at my desk computer open and just watch the forest. My mind drifts away on clouds of peace and wonderment at the diversity of nature. This is a perfect place to write and live. I often wonder did I find it or did it find me? was it call from my inner peace or the forest wanting someone to come and look-after part of it, turn it into a place of life again. Who knows but I have days when all I want to do is sit and watch, no working, no writing just let the rest of the world go lose itself while I enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. It is how I came to find the title of my first Children’s book Clearing in the Forest. The image of the oak forests of England in times past plus dappled clearings with ferns and bluebells covering the floor, with deer grazing in the clearings came easily to mind. When I started the story the onset of a cold harsh winter for those who were serfs, gathering wood for their fires seeing the great oak trees without leaves standing strong and tall but unwelcoming no longer giving shelter to three bastard children of a Norman Baron. I had started writing but a title eluded me I could not relate to nor enter the story, but after one mental walk in an oak forest in summer it came to me. A clearing is where the forest breaths, where it lets in light and animals come to graze or just enjoy the warmth of the sun, but it also had a darker side for animals and humans alike. It was to such places that humans came to hunt for food, a place where they lay in wait for the deer. Men and boys hunting, risking all if they were caught by the Normans who were the only ones allowed to hunt deer. Punishment was cruel and swift if they were caught, and for three young children it was a terrifying time alone in the forest, thus Clearing in the Forest was born.
After that having a title made it easy for me to lose myself in the adventure if I got stuck I just looked up from my desk and let my forest suggest things. So when I write I am at peace with myself and characters, I can hop in and out of their time zone, see with eyes that can, up to a point, understand their world. But always always remembering the period I am writing about is history not modern day with our modern day attitudes and outlook, things then were shall we say a little unhygienic??
(c) Jason D’ebre – Author