The following post is the result of a Quirks and Rituals assignment from the course I have started this week in English Composition. We were asked to write an essay based on how we as writers work and after several days of no response on my behalf to the task at hand, the words began to flow.
The haunting howling of wolves serenade the wavering writers mind, as the writer in me goes in search of words in which to put pen to paper. Deep mysteries lie in wait, and new adventures are just a word away – yet so many seem to elude me. This is the hauntings I endure on a regular basis recently as I strive to better my writing. As such, I end up meditating for 10 minutes, to the sound of wolves howling before settling down to write. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. When it does the words are free and effortless, when it doesn’t then it seems nothing but darkness has surrounded me.
When I turn to write, there is always something wolf related not far from where I choose to work. It can be anything, it can be almost nothing, but it is inspiring. The biggest reason for this, is when I turned to spiritualism, I found I understood more about the person within. I also found that I had a deeper connection with the wolf and now have full faith in the belief that the spirit of animals can guide us on the right road. In this belief, the wolf is a pathfinder and a teacher. Within mediation should you see a wolf – you will be guided towards the right path. You will be led away from what should be put behind you, and brought towards what you should reach for. Is it then such a wonder that the wolf seems to feature in several aspects of my written work? – Would you say that was a ritual or a quirk?
When it isn’t the songs the wolves sing on CD, it is other music. You see, I can’t write in silence and I can’t write with distractions. I need the space in order to think, and the music in order to keep the mind focused. As strange as it may seem, I’ve never been able to sit and write when dead air surrounds me. I think this is another factor as to why writing stories in school never really seemed to work out – the classrooms were silent graveyards scarce for the scratching pens across paper. The teacher would be sitting at their desk in the corner watching eagerly, waiting to tell someone to hush and get on with their work.
The only time I could truly focus was in Art when the radio was on, when freedom to express yourself until you heart was content was granted to you. Those are the conditions I work best in. Semi cluttered and still, yet flowing with the gift of music as it dances in the air around me, as it paints the picture of the world that is being created within my mind. It is here that I would find the momentum. It is here that new worlds are born and new depths to older ones are put in place.
The gift that music creates has always been one to touch my heart. It will pull you from the murky depths of depression and throw you upwards into a spiral of emotion or inspiration – it all comes down to what you chose to listen to. Some however can pull you down deeper, on those occasions that music might be best for some darker work.
During my pre-drafting stages, I’ll work with pen on paper. It is usually around these mad moments that I find myself being at work and have nothing else at hand. These are the times where no music is available yet there is a distant thrum of life that provides the ushered pulse of life. From paper, they are then transferred over onto the laptop as soon as possible. If not the laptop, then often to the iPad in one of several writing applications that have been downloaded to make it more efficient for writing on the move – it isn’t always possible to carry a laptop with me, and pen and paper doesn’t seem to offer the same power when in full writing momentum. My hand could never write as fast as my mind would have it do so, and even then, my fingers often fail to keep up as quick. The result is often several missed words over larger sections, often is the case that they would be the most minimalist of words however.
During the revision stages, I work back from paper – making notes on the draft with red pen and using the laptop to write in the changes. Currently, that revision stage of life is resulting in the full reworking of a novel written in the space of 65 days. This was a month of madness known to many as NaNoWriMo, in which many writing sprints had been taken up to make it through. Those said sprints still continue, but they are less now than what they had been. This is mostly down to the fact that I haven’t been a good writer lately and have allowed the living, working world to consume me and leave me completely wiped out for the rest of the day. When the momentum is there, everything flows like the waters of life spreading freely around the world. There is nothing that can stop that flow – well almost nothing. We all need a break here and there – we can’t all be burnt out writers for the rest of our lives.
By the desk, I use a whiteboard and cork-board for holding and making notes, often used for keeping track of time-lines during long periods of writing. These are then surrounded by… yes you have guessed it – Wolf Mandala’s and dream catchers. Even the mug I use for tea (I detest coffee) contains the image of a Wolf. Can you say obsessed?
Even now, in writing this I have my wolf meditation CD playing as I seek the words that I find so hard to write. To expose the quirks behind the writer is like placing them naked on stage and exposing the hidden surface to the world. Perhaps the world isn’t quite ready for everything, perhaps it is just the inner fear of an undisciplined writer fighting the urge to turn tail and run for the hills. Deep down, I wish I was a wolf instead. I wouldn’t have to worry about exposing the truth behind the walls of a writer, my only real worry would be survival – I guess we are even similar than I thought after all.
You see we all have our own tricks of the trade. We all work under different circumstances and like to surround ourselves with what makes us feel comfortable. Up until very recently, I had two additions in my world that made everything complete and now, I long for the days when I will once again have that four legged companion lingering around my feet, ever watching, ever patient and always loving. Yes, I’m talking about dogs. We can’t keep them forever, but we can hold their memories eternally and for them, I will keep on writing.
These mere simple matters are the interlinking chains that hold my world together. Some are bizarre in the eyes of others, some are less understanding and yet some share the same or similar quirks as I. We writers really are an uncanny group of people, but that is why we are writers. We are the new windows for the world to look within, and we are the new painters to paint the blank canvases. Our words of today will form the world of tomorrow. It is our birth right to keep doing the things we love, even if sometimes we think it would be better to stop.