The Write Stuff – part 3: re-kindling the fire

Paula’s Post #101 – 

Almost midnight in the garden of good and evil. AKA the Coachella Valley. More familiarly, Palm Springs, the storied desert playground. And if this is Tuesday, it must mean I have exactly 33 minutes to get my blog post up in cyberspace.

Piece of cake, baby.

No, I have not reformed. I’m still beyond distracted by work, tennis, golf, charitable events, book club, reading, friends, husband and oh – did I mention moving and unpacking? My teething puppy? The 95 degree heat? The BNP Paribas Openthe tennis world’s unofficial fifth major?

Not a laundry list that is particularly conducive to serious writing. Why, today… rushing around like a chicken with missing anatomical parts, I actually through (oops, another case of homonymanitis) I mean ‘threw’  two rather large checks (or for my anglophone friends ‘cheques’) in the big round filing cabinet. Aka the trash can.

But guess what?

I don’t care (and not just because I figured out what a nitwit I’d been and recovered the checks/cheques).

You see, ever since I posted Part I of this rather personal and rambling missive two weeks ago (The Write Stuff (part I) aka “Houston, we’ve got a problem”) I’ve felt a strange sense of liberation.

Two weeks ago, I knew I had a problem. I wasn’t writing and hadn’t been for a long time. Wasn’t even really faking it anymore.

Then last week, in The Write Stuff – Part 2 I followed up with what some may have uncharitably viewed as a bit of a ‘blow off’ post. A celebration of sorts (over finally saying ‘no’ to something, but also a wee pat on the back for the milestone of clocking my 100 blog post). The latter achievement I’m justifiably proud of, even as ‘hare’ in this pack of 5writers.

But last week’s post had a more serious component, too (though, of course, coming from me, you may have wondered if it was all a bit tongue-in-cheek when I started musing about 12 step programs for wayward writers and, in particular, the need to admit you have a problem).

But guess what?

It’s working.

Since last week’s admission of same, I’ve felt energized! And while in a busy week, chock full of commitments and activities, I haven’t made much progress on my actual writing, I have been thinking (yes, thinking) about how to metaphorically dust myself off and start all over again.

If you’re familiar with 12 step programs (personally or referentially), you’ll know that Step 2 is based on looking to a ‘higher power’ as a means to restore one’s sanity.

But what, pray tell, does that mean for lapsed writers?

Darned if I know.

Except for this one small thing. I used to love reading and writing, and lately… not so much. I want to get back to being that person caught up in ‘story’ both reading and writing. I need to find a way to capture that euphoric enthusiasm.

Now, my 5writer colleague Joe is all about identifying a character’s ‘wants and needs’ in order to make fiction more compelling. Fact or fiction, I don’t know if I’m on the right track or not with this, so help me out with your own ideas – but for me, I think I’m looking at a ‘back to basics’ approach.

Discovering what first ‘kindled’ my love of story. Of mystery. My dreams of being a writer. Looking back to when I was say, five or six years old, and my mother read the Hardy Boys to us as the moths swarmed overhead and we slapped away mosquitos under starry summer skies at our summer cabin. Or a year two later, when at seven or eight I started reading Nancy Drew mysteries on my own.

But how can I dial back the clock now? Today, in the midst of the desert, when I’m well… let’s face it, a wee closer to 6-with-a-zero-added-to-it than six?

Guess what?

There’s an app for that! A Kindle App, to be more precise. This evening, please don’t laugh, I actually downloaded the 80th Anniversary edition of Nancy Drew #1 – The Secret of the Old Clock.

Oh, dear dear 5writer colleague Silk. Goddess whom I know shares my love of dear old Nancy. I suspect you are going to just love this.  Oh, oh, oh… did I mention you can even cough up a bit more and get the Audible edition and have Laura Linney read it to you.

Dong… Dong… Dong…

Hear that? That’s the sound of the clock hitting midnight in the garden of good and evil. Time to read ‘Chapter 1’ and rediscover that secret of that damned old clock.

Good night Silk. Good night Joe. Good night Karalee. Good night Helga. Good night, dear followers. Oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know your own ideas for re-kindling the fire?

Old Clock

8 thoughts on “The Write Stuff – part 3: re-kindling the fire

  1. Say no to all of this: “tennis, golf, charitable events, book club, reading”. I’ll let you keep work and husband. Oh and I suppose friends. And I guess suggesting the puppy go is a lost cause 🙂
    I know you know that if you want to write there has to be time for it to simmer, space for it to catch alight, quiet and peace as a cauldron in which the seeds can grow. There’s no room in your life at the moment for writing. Enjoy Nancy Drew but I don’t think it’s going to help if in the end there’s no time for writing. And I don’t mean just the writing part, but also time for the quiet introspective part that fuels the writing.

    • Ah… but I can dream. I agree though I may be back in the ‘getting ready to get going stage’ but I am feeling re-energized. Less than a month until we leave ‘Gomorrah’ for the peaceful, bucolic Sunshine Coast. While still baby steps, I’ve started putting the foundation building blocks in place to do much less, (especially ‘work-work’) by scaling back on the amount of administrative responsibility involved. Now, if only we have a rainy late spring and early summer to trap me in doors, writing… but that’s probably asking too much?

      • It’s already too late for a late rainy spring – for Vancouver anyway so I suppose it’s much the same for the Sunshine Coast – spring has arrived apparently. Still, I bet that environment will be a whole lot more conducive to getting the writing juices flowing. Wishing you much good luck and success with lightening the load and making room for your writing passion to grow.

  2. I’m so stoked about the reappearance of Nancy, my childhood hero! I can’t tell you how many hot, sticky summer afternoons of my childhood summers I spent on the shady porch, whipping through Nancy Drew mysteries as fast as I could turn the pages. I was bereft when I had finished every book in the series, and then turned to The Dana Girls (like Nancy Drew times two). When there were no more Danas to read, I was on to Sherlock Holmes. Which reminds me, I still have my Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection. I think it’s time to crack that spine again. Right after I download the electronic Nancy for a nostalgic reunion.

    • Don’t forget about the Laura Linney reads to you version! I’m go going to enjoy this ‘re-beginning – may need to read the whole series. I’ll check out the Dana girls, too!

  3. You’ve got the answer. The only thing that will make the writing happen is you loving and wanting it to happen enough for it to trump everything else. So dive back into the magic, if that is the best route for you. Writing posts is (at least I tell myself it is) writing workout, so you are keeping in trim already.

  4. Great insights, and now you heard it from a few sources that truly have your best in mind. As do I, dear friend. Can’t see you doing much or any writing in your time left in the desert, not with tennis, golf, puppy to be trained, grown dog to be walked, real estate work, husband, club socials, unpacking boxes, getting settled in your new house, et al, but I’ll hold you to it once you are on the Sunshine Coast. While spring has sprung even there, you’ll still have plenty of ‘indoor’ writing time ahead. So, rebalance, restoke and revisit your passion to write, and the muse will return. But she will not take a back seat forever!

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