Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Scribble, stop, scribble

To scribble and erase and scribble again. That’s poet Mary Oliver, describing her craft as quoted in this fascinating weekly insight into creative work, Brain Pickings Weekly.

Mary was talking about the need to find a place of solitude in order to write without interruptions from phones, or a knock at the door, or the sound of the post arriving.

You know the post is there – you heard the postie deliver it – do you go out now and have a look at what’s arrived? Will it be something that will take your attention away from the task at hand? Do you ignore it and wait until later? And will a small part of your brain spend the next hour wondering what’s in the box? The problem, of course, is one of concentration, of being able to shut out everything else so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

(And on the subject of postboxes, here’s another intriguing blog I came across recently, Ron’s Country Musings, from an ex policeman who lives in a trailer park. Ron’s writing may not be as sophisticated as anything you’ll find in Brain Pickings but it’s equally valid. Ron notices things, and that’s the mark of a good writer.)

How much do you ignore friends and family in the pursuit of something so tenuous as chasing words? How do you capture fleeting ideas in such a way that you can fully express them, not pin them down and squash all the life out of them?

It’s a task that takes all your concentration, yet it can seem so trivial. How can it take precedence over staying in touch with people you really love, never mind the ones you merely like? All in the name of a story?

In the end, we choose what matters to us. I’ve only recently understood that writing matters to me, even when it feels like the story I’m trying to write is a wayward child, throwing tantrums and hiding in a corner. Words matter. Ideas matter.

I doubt if the insects that made the marks on this Scribbly Gum tree had any set pattern in mind, but what they’ve created is beautiful.

DSC05474

That’s what writing feels like. You follow the thread of a story and see where it might lead. It’s a risky strategy. You’re putting your trust in a journey without knowing exactly where it’s going, but surely that’s part of the adventure. That’s where the excitement lies.

As a writer, even when you reach what feels like a destination you then have to turn around and go back to the beginning. Revise, reshape, edit. Send those scribbles in the right direction. That’s when the real work starts.

It gets harder as I get older, and it gets easier.

Happy scribbling.

8 comments on “Scribble, stop, scribble

  1. Eliza Waters
    March 30, 2017

    Solitude is hard to come by, esp. when you don’t live alone!

    Like

  2. debhuntwasinbrokenhill
    March 30, 2017

    Oh yes, it takes a certain selfish courage to say go away, don’t disturb me!

    Like

  3. Ron Walker
    March 31, 2017

    Thank you so very much for the kind words and mention, I am truly honored. It is hard sometimes to carve out that block of solitude, to work on being creative. I can’t thank you and others enough, for helping me as I start my journey in trying to blog/write. I enjoy visiting here and reading.

    Like

  4. monsoonwendy
    March 31, 2017

    Deb this resonated so much! Not that I write, as you know, but the struggle between the desire/ need to connect with the people you love and the need to express and create. And as for finding solitude…it is indeed a spiritual/ psychological solitude as much as a physical one! Maybe the answer is all written in those scribbles…we just need to be able to translate it. Happy scribbling!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      March 31, 2017

      It’s such a delicate balance isn’t it? Your scribbles are always beautifully expressed Wendy, whether that’s in polymer clay or in words. Hope you’re having a good time in Nepal and great news on the book! I saw a big article in the BDT about it.

      Like

  5. mrdjangozazou
    March 31, 2017

    “You follow the thread of a story and see where it might lead. It’s a risky strategy. You’re putting your trust in a journey without knowing exactly where it’s going…when you reach what feels like a destination you then have to turn around and go back to the beginning. Revise, reshape, edit…”

    You realise that’s the story of my life, don’t you? Especially the edit and revise bit: you’d be amazed at how brilliant my past achievements have become since I actually did them!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      March 31, 2017

      You and me both Django. I’m really hoping my whole life will flash in front of my eyes before I die, so I’ll know where I’ve been. You were there for a big chunk of it, weren’t you? What fun we had. Still time for more!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on March 30, 2017 by .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

%d bloggers like this: