Desert Life

Picture a desert.

My picture is pretty dry and empty. It’s actually quite beautiful, but stark and uncompromising. Crucially there is no life to be seen, unless you count a vulture circling high above.

I have watched those documentaries about the incredible creatures living in deserts, coming out at night, or burrowing deep to keep cool; I have watched the stop-motion cinematography of barren tracts blooming after once-in-a-generation rain, for a few brief days, before shrivelling back to dust.

This desert is the inside of my writing head. My writing head has been empty for days. It’s as if the creativity has been leached from me, burned away, in the terms of this painful metaphor, by the scorching sun of Real Life. For in Real Life I need all my creativity right now to sort out some real problems. Real Life, it may shock you to hear, is my priority.

There are implications to this, however.

Do I have a limited amount of creativity? Is it an either / or resource? EITHER I can spend time writing down my crazy ideas and making progress with building a satisfying story (much on paper rather than blogged) – OR I have to sort out Real Life.

I’m not wholly convinced I can’t have my pen and use it. Here’s why.

1. I am writing this about how I can’t write anything, Look, there are words and everything. Even sentences and some primitive structure.

2. I don’t believe this applies to other areas of human endeavour, nor that creativity is special. In our family we always sign birthday cards and so one with “All our love”. The children were pedantic about this when smaller.

“How can you give all of us all your love?”

“Well,” we said, “the really great thing about love is, the more you give the more you get. It’s infinite, like inside the Tardis.”

“Right,” they said and were happy. Tardis love works every time.

3,, I still have the story inside me, waiting to be written. It didn’t stop existing just because Real Life woke up and snarled at me. I still have words, and can use them to talk and type and so on; I’m just waiting to birth my story through them.

This isn’t exactly about not knowing what to write. At the moment it’s about making time and space to write it down. All the words buzzing about in my brain have decided to help me out by settling for a while. I can feel them watching me, hungry like the wolf, for when I will be able to feed them again.

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