Friday, 18 May 2007

Courage, dear writer, courage!

"Come to the edge," he said.
They said: "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge,"he said.
They came -- He pushed them --
and they flew.

My little doves have gone, and so have the parents. I miss them, and can only hope they're safe.

For a short time they enriched my life, made me appreciative of the things I take for granted like my safe, warm home and plentiful supplies of food and drink. But more than that it made me think about the concept of courage - not entirely sure why, but maybe it had something to do with how tiny and vulnerable they were. Anyway, how often do we play it safe? How often do we say we'd like to do or try something but we don't. Oh, we might reach out a little, play around with how life would be if we did take a chance to do, or be, something different. But all too soon we slip back into our safety zone, secure in the protective netting we place around our shoulders.

Today, and for a little while if I'm honest, I find the very act of writing quite terrifying. I have plenty of ideas, never short of those, and I know my characters, I know the plot (mostly). But opening my WIP and getting some work done actually makes my stomach flip. What the hell is going on? I ask myself. Why is doing the very thing I love and adore so darn petrifying?

I pondered on those questions this morning as I worked in my garden. Didn't get any flashes of illumination but I did get a deep down nudge that writing is terrifying to me because I love and adore it. And nothing worth having, or doing, comes at little cost. We have to dig for our jewels, we have to get our hands dirty, have to accept the cuts and bruises that comes from excavating our dreams. Nothing I've ever done in my life comes close to the joy I get from writing, so it makes sense that the downside of that is on occasions it's going to hurt a little. I think it was Vicki Hinze who said something like "why would we waste our time doing something that didn't have the potential to breaks our hearts a little?"

Why indeed?


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