I haven’t talked a huge amount about my story writing on this blog so far, but I’ve been thinking about it. For one, I’m not sure how interested people are in it; for another, I’m not sure how interested I am in sharing my process with the world-at-large. I have a couple of friends and a sister (you know who you are!) who are the kind and supportive and encouraging recipients of my enthusiasms and doubts about writing, both verbally and in frequent long letters. Do I really need to share with anyone else? Does it matter? Is it not part of the general narcissistic tendency of our days?
But yet . . . this is a major part of my life. It is gradually becoming my focus. I have spent a year writing every day for an hour, or very close to it — I think I have a total of about a fortnight where I haven’t written at all, and perhaps a month’s worth of days where I only wrote for fifteen minutes or half an hour. For the rest of the time, I have written day in an day out.
This has made a noticeable difference in my life. It is my art, my craft, my vocation. These are the things I feel antsy about not doing frequently enough: writing, reading (especially noticeable with fiction, but also philosophy and poetry), walking, and gardening.
This is why I spent most of last winter reading gardening books.
I notice, even if I don’t always write about, the floraisons of Halifax — which I should add right now: how I have been admiring the hoarfrost on the holly bush down the road from me, the last mauve chrysanthemums of the season, which this year are joined by a stout and very belated purple foxglove, the gradual paling and fall of the Solomon’s seal, the way that some trees seem to change colour from the inside out so that you have a glow of orange reaching out towards the darker reds at the tips of the branches.
I detail the books I have read. I am tempted to rearrange my bookshelves so I can say I did in fact read a whole bookcase (one of my goals), but instead I will show the main cases and tell you which ones I have not yet read. (That’ll be later this month, just in case. Maybe I will still have time to read Anna Karenina or The Tale of Genji before my birthday?)
And . . . I write. I work on my stories. I want to tell more stories on here of the Inn and the tales that I am spinning around and because of it, the fictional inn of my narrative universe and the metaphorical inn of this blog. I intend to make some changes in the new year, and one of them, I think, will be some deliberate efforts to be accountable on my fiction writing. I have the habit of writing daily now, now is the time to push myself to work on my story daily as well as the other writing I do.
Some reckonings are coming due. Not frightening ones! Just the end-of-a-year ones. My birthday happens to mark the day before the start of Advent, the beginning of the church year, as well as being my thirtieth and a natural prompt of reckonings-up and looking-forward. I am actually looking forward to the reckoning up and to spinning out my new plans…