I recently gave myself a free pass to buy a heap of books.
You know, for research purposes.
One of the first I tore through was Sometimes the Magic Works, by Terry Brooks, which I bought from the Cannon Beach Book Company (of Cannon Beach, OR). It is a book about writing by a writer who I’ve heard some very good things about, and who I vaguely remember experimenting with in junior high (Sword of Shannara ring any bells, sci-fi/fantasy readers?).
The book hits home with its opening chapter, titled, “I Am Not All Here.” Terry explains that as a creator of fictional worlds and dreamer of epic stories, he’s always musing on a new one, or an old one with new light to be shed. Which brings me to my own personal conclusion, that writers, at least some of the time, are completely alone (except for the characters with which their own imagination peoples the landscape), and it’s marvelous.
Writers…are completely alone…and it’s marvelous.
What happens with non-writers? Do they philosophize? What snatches their attention unexpectedly, delightedly, when they see strangers interacting? Does it all reflect back on them? What a burden! Not to be able to escape…
Eventually, after I’ve written a story, I realize what parts of the story say about my life or frame of mind, but that’s not in the present moment. And it’s important to me to live in that present moment. Otherwise, the future is a hoax, as someone great once said.
And that is why I spent my birthday alone this year, for the very first time. It was not perfect, but it was very enjoyable. Without the rushing around to gather friends, to feel loved, to craft an image of fun, I could do exactly what I liked. And I liked my own company.