I’m working on a play at the moment, writing scenes in a free-style that will – hopefully – be incorporated into my play and used as building blocks in the final draft. My play is also a novel. Its themes are the evil of human nature and the final ‘fall down’ of the human species.
Which leads me to focus on one important fact; that writing stories – in my view – is primarily about thought, about thinking, and about going down deep into the ‘other world’ that is the subconcious mind.
OK, so opening the document on which I am going to write various words starts this process of thinking. The document has a name – i.e the play’s working title – and the title inspires thought – deep thought.
This seemingly easy task of creating a new document on which to write a play, a novel, a poem, a drama, seems easy but it’s not; the end result – a play, a novel, a poem, a drama – looms large in the mind and then it starts raining questions which pulls the mind in all sorts of directions; what is this piece about? Who are the characters? Why am I writing this? Why do I care about this piece so much? Care about it enough to write it all down? Care about it enough to think about it on such a deep level?
These questions produce a kind of agony and that agony comes from having to face a certain ‘truth door’, and step through it.
The ‘truth door’ can and does reveal all sorts of nasties, and the nasties come at you the moment you enter this deep place, usually known as the subconscious which happens while you are in the deep thought process.
But the nasties – deep thoughts that deal with personal insecurities, failings, hatreds, phobias, actions motivated by fears etc – are controllable in the thought place that is the author’s personal writing world, and if we face them we start having an enormous amount of fun.
For example, one of my characters is deeply flawed so the question arises- does this represent me? Is it too autobiographical? If the answer is yes – this represents one of the nasties – and it can be hard to face these truths.
But if another of my characters reminds me of a loved one, departed from this world, this soothes the nastiness of facing myself through the truth door, and lets me have fun in the world of deep thought free-writing.
This might be why real life is so difficult for many writers, because in order to write we need to literally live our stories, live inside our characters, live everything they go through.
Real life becomes sub-par; the life of our stories is so much better – for one we can control it, whereas we have no control over ‘real’ life.
Which leads back to the necessity of deep thinking in order to write.
Deep thinking – sub-conscious thinking – in today’s world is very hard, given that we’re bombarded with demands on our attention every waking minute.
But deep thinking is necessary for writers – uninterrupted time, quiet spaces, aloneness, and in huge quantities.
Writers – including me – need to redesign their lives to make that possible. Is it possible? Tell me what you think.
A couple of days ago, I walked from Tarragona or Tarraco near the Costa Daurada in Catalunya (Catalonia) to the old Romanesque fort at Tamarit.
It was a walk of about 12km from my hotel in Tarragona down to the platja (beach), and up through the pine forests that hug the Mediterranean.
As I walked I was thinking; thinking about urban life versus the country or coastal country.
City life, life in Tarragona, Barcelona, Edinburgh, London, Newcastle, Paris, Madrid or any city is about pretence. It’s about keeping up appearences, about playing a type of game, the game of keeping everything going, always.
When you think about it, life in cities is always about the same thing; paying rent or paying the bank for your house, meeting friends, working or looking for work, or studying, watching the faces of people as they are consumed by their ‘business’, and meeting your own sort of hidden agendas. Life in cities is also about the dangerous game of ‘ego’; dressing the part, keeping up with the latest trends, having enough ‘stuff’ to fill the void of some type of existence. It’s also about protection, the guarding of one’s physical safety against the perpetrators of crime.
You get up, you get dressed in an outfit that will suit the type of day that you are expecting to have, you consume the fuel needed to keep the day going, you plan your meetings, your work, your study, your friendship time, your downtime and your evenings. You don’t hear the birds or admire the contours of the waves (no time), you’re a slave to your phone and your computer and the endless pointless emails that clutter up your inbox. You rush this way and that and you don’t notice that everyone else is doing exactly the same thing as you, wearing similar clothes, clutching similar style smart phones, a stressed, stretched face pinched with thought, tired with responsibility.
All for what.
Now, back on the Camino de Tamarit, there I was, with my soft sports sandals, my skirt and top, my sunscreen and sunglasses, my bottle of water and a little bag, and I was in a pine forest with no one around and the Mediterranean on my right side as I walked. The earth was rugged and soft at the same time, the Mediterranean was rough and noisy. It was saying to me, keep going, just keep walking. And I did. I met no one, which surprised me. I walked on and on for 12km guided on by the patrins – the marks on the rocks which signalled the way.
My thoughts were; this is bliss, this is heaven, this is a non-judgmental space in which to just ‘be’. There is no one here to say – you’re just not good enough, you’re defective, you’re done, you’ve been made redundant, you’re useless, you’re can’t compete in that city world where image and competence is everything.
The scent of the pine forests reminded me of my dad and our holidays in Catalonia in the late 1960s and how he made me feel, safe and accepted, a little girl with absolutely nothing to fear. And now in 2018 in the Spanish pine forests that border the Mediterranean I felt at home, rid of the anxiety of trying to fit in. I felt safe and I made it to Tamarit as a storm broke and it started to rain.