Friday, April 12, 2013

Mulling



Our evening walk

Mulling: Verb

1.Think about (a fact, proposal, or request) deeply and at length: "she began to mull over the various possibilities".

To write well I do believe we have to read well. I was struggling with a short story I wrote that I like very much. For one it's based on truth but for two I have a narrator that just isn't sitting right with me. The story's in the third person and he is an old, wise man with some physical deformities (oddly proportioned body, very short with a large head)that I am extremely fond of. I know, for literati - "of whom I'm extremely fond" sounds clunky and snobbish, so hey, artistic licence, y'all.

He collects stories, and people trust him with their deepest secrets. I've written many stories featuring this wonderful old man but this particular one was driving me crazy. I put it away about six months ago, still unresolved.

I was reading a story out of an anthology yesterday. It was a great story up to a point and then it all fell down as the writer couldn't extricate the narrator and the protaganist from each other. The end of it was a mess. I read it four or five times and it was still a mess. Like the writer gave up and said, I did really well for 90% of this and now I'm tired, so stop bothering me.

I was out with the dog this evening and I was transfixed by the slapping of the incoming tide on the stones. My mind soared off. I was a child again listening to my grandfather who had wonderful stories and songs. "Come here to me, a leanbh," he'd say, "an sceal eile." (child, another story). I don't know how long I stood there but it was long enough for the dog to throw herself on my feet and whimper. But, suddenly, I knew where that writer had gone wrong and QED where I'd gone wrong too by not giving my beloved storyteller, Chester, his very own voice.

It's odd that. How we can think reading and walking and playing with the dog can be pastimes, fun things, but on another level, almost subconsciously, the mind can be opened up anew and a very old ball of knotted wool can be untangled.

Just like that.



8 comments:

  1. I think your mind has to be inquisitive and open enough for that to happen. You were ready to receive the other possibility and apply the solution. Not everyone is capable of that. Good luck with that story now. I hope we get to read it.

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  2. It seemed to fall into my head Irene, I wasn't even thinking about the stories. I just love when that happens. :)

    XO
    WWW

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  3. The creative process trips over things that go bump in the night.

    Last night I started a poem about about the demise of coin and paper money in day-to-day life.

    It was all a jumble. It didn't work. But at 5 a.m. I started writing, and I had my poem. Spooky.

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  4. Marc:

    It's extraordinary, I agree. Never then when one plans it and then surprises us in the most unexpected places and times.

    XO
    WWW

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  5. Nothing like a walk to clear the cobwebs of the mind.

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  6. I know what you mean about those mental logjams.



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  7. It's intriguing how the mind quietly putters away, addressing some problem without you even knowing, and then out pops the solution. I often go to bed wrestling with something I just can't get straight, then wake up the next morning knowing exactly what to do. The brain is an amazing organ.

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  8. Walking is a great way to prepare ground for ideas, to open the doors on whatever it is your mind has been simmering over since you last set it to work.

    Also: 'To write well I do believe we have to read well.' Yes. Editing other people's writing, I can't help but analyse from their prose how attentively they read.

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