Monthly Archives: August 2015

Light my Fire

Writers come in all types. Some are pantsers, they write whatever comes to mind; some are plotters, they plot their whole story before they begin writing. Outliners fall into the latter camp as well. Some write fast, others slow; some write in coffee shops, others in a secluded spot at home. There is no right way to write.
Some have inspiration that drives them like a wild-fire to produce much quickly. Others have a smoldering fire that keeps them cooking without mania. Neither is better.
In either case, if they stop writing for a while, the fire pops up in another place. It can’t be stopped.
I just took a hiatus from writing. The gap was self-imposed at the beginning, but then external factors dominated my break.
I began the summer by choosing to not write much, if at all. I was on no schedule. Instead of writing fiction, I thought about what I had written, how good (or bad) it was, and used that as a jumping-off point to think about what I would like to write. When I went on a trip, I didn’t take anything to read, just a blank notebook where I could record ideas. I had no expectation or requirement that I use the ideas later. I feel like I replenish my batteries when I do that.
I did succeed in developing pages of notes on things I might like to write. They may or may not ferment, bubble to the top, and get on my list of things to do or they may just stay there and eventually be forgotten.
After my travels, I had a little cough. Nothing to worry about, but it hung on a couple of weeks. About three weeks ago, my slight cough turned into what felt like a bad summer cold. Later, I found my oxygen levels were unexpectedly low (wife is a nurse). I went to the emergency room where I was rushed into treatment for pneumonia. It turned out to be bilateral pneumonia.
Mr. P (pneumonia) is an unusual disease. I went from being able to work out in the gym three times a week or more to not being able to lift myself from a chair; from being able to understand complex ideas to not being able to understand simple questions.
With only one blow from Mr. P., I was down and out—almost.
The faint ember that fuels my desire to write glowed through the thick fog Mr. P. shrouds himself in. Even so, I still observed doctors and nurses as if they were characters I could use in a story. I noted my darkest moments and those where I found the strength to power through. I was still writing, this time on automatic. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t put two words together to make a sentence. The muse still had me.
I remember one point where I was hallucinated a small animal under my chair and insisted my wife search for it. I didn’t retain my long-dead mother visiting me and only know about that because my brother reported it to me. I had a conversation with her while he was in the room. He could’t see her, only I could. Both could work into interesting stories.
In being sick, I found out something about myself. Writing has become so much a part of me that I am on automatic. The fire keeps burning.