Journeys of discovery


I’ve taken a step back from my writing this week, and have spent some time thinking about what makes me tick, both as a person and as a writer, and exploring those elements and how they feed through into my work. It’s made for an interesting (as well as fun) couple of days, and I’m still kind of obsessively firing off it and thinking of more and new things, but the connections between them are all boiling down into a couple of major thematic elements. Some of it I already knew, but it was helpful to unpack it all.

I was not surprised to discover an inquistive, exploratory streak concerned with patterns and systems and reducing them all to stark and beautiful simplicity – very much my cold, rational side in play there – the political, the scientific, the minimalistic.

What I wasn’t expecting to come out was an equally strong hedonistic, sensual side that loves the bright, the complex, the dramatic – erotic even – that’s rococo, baroque, gothic in its preoccupations.

As I dug down deeper through it, the relationships and conflicts between different sets of apparent opposites – for example, the juxtaposition of the personal and political, how an individual balances their own needs and desires with those of their wider family/social group/society norms and laws . . . . I could probably go on all day, but I feel as though my brain is on fire and I’m so excited about exploring these themes and contrasts even further in my writing.

What is fantastic about it all is that it has unblocked me on an edit for a scene in the novel that I’ve been blocked on for a good month. I now understand what I was trying to do with it, and where I missed that target. It’s also shed some light on the whole of the second half of the book, and I need to go through all of that again just to make sure those themes are coming through as strongly as I want them to, and that there’s as strong a logical connection between the two halves of the novel – that the denouement is a natural and satisfying flow-through from the building blocks of the first half. Suddenly, it’s all come clear. It’s a real ‘EUREKA’ moment, and I feel like running around the house shouting “I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT”. Possibly, the kids would think I’ve gone mad, so I’ll scream, shout and jump up and down quietly to myself. I can’t wait for this evening when I can properly get down to work. I haven’t felt this excited about the novel in months. It’s such a relief to re-discover my energy and enthusiasm for it.

This journey is inspiring and liberating. And I need more paper.


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