Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Story Behind The Story

            As a writer I have found that certain things lend themselves to the mood of what I am writing and, in some cases, even act as inspiration.
            When I was a teenager I used to find that the creative juices would flow better and faster on a cloudy, rainy day, or on a cold, wintery day when I could curl up in bed under my eiderdown with a notepad and pencil.
            Those were still the days when I needed to be inspired to write something worthwhile.   When you start writing professionally it is quite a different matter.   It becomes a disciplined art.   You get up in the mornings, you go into your study, you pick up the threads of the story where you left it the day before, and then you write.   This doesn’t mean that you’re not inspired to write, it simply means that you don’t wait for the inspiration to make a start.   You start and the inspiration will be there quick enough.   Think of “Inspiration” as a slow, lazy fellow that rouses himself now and then when the mood is right.   But “Inspiration” is also a willing and obedient fellow when he comes face to face with determination.
            Writing is a combined effort of the heart and the mind.   The mind can do it on its own; it knows the technique and it knows how to use words creatively, but when the heart isn’t involved then what you’ve written has no soul.   I think this is what it’s like when you go through the motions of being a Christian, but Jesus doesn’t feature in your everyday life.   Your worship is hollow, meaningless, and of no use to anyone – least of all to God.
            I have always said that everything I committed to paper always started with a feeling.   It might be sad or happy, nostalgic or melancholic.   I never detailed the feeling, it just came with the story and sometimes even led to an idea that finally took shape in my mind.   I love music, especially the classics and opera, and many times the feelings awakened while listening to the music would lead to a story that simply had to be told.
            I have been spending every available moment lately editing stories and articles that were written many years ago.   Many of them were unpublished, but the reason they were never discarded was because of the story behind the story.   The story might not be very good, in fact some of them are quite silly, but as I am reading through them and editing out the glaring errors I am also reliving the feelings and the circumstances under which they were originally written.   There are memories and emotions woven into the words on those pages, many of which I cannot share with anyone either because they are too personal or run too deep, and so they are going to be bound together in a book where they might end up meaning nothing to anyone but myself.   Whatever the case might be, I am spending a memorable time reacquainting myself with the person I used to be.

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