My writing life.
A journey where the beginning and the end elude me.
From an early age, I was interested in topics like science and religion. This interest deepened during my teenage years, even allowing me to entertain thoughts of writing about these topics. It was piqued even more when I heard an English writer being interviewed on the Late Late Show on Irish television around 1970. When asked by Gay Byrne, the host, if there’s a book in everybody, she quipped that, yes there is, and for the vast majority that’s exactly where it should stay. It made me ponder whether there was a book lurking somewhere inside me but didn’t immediately pursue the quest to find out. Many years passed when it seemed I was following her sage advice, but eventually, I put her witty observation to the test and metaphorically took up the cudgels, finding the courage to write. It was a long-drawn-out moment, you could say.
The perennial challenge of finding the muse to write has afflicted me just as much as any other writer, I dare to conjecture. If you’re lucky and the muse appears it unfurls something within. That’s true. All the half-formed images, the ideas stored somewhere in the deep recesses – the back of the mind – are enticed out to dance around so they can be subjected to a blast of reality and, if they survive, hopefully they can be promptly captured on paper.
Writing is a solitary pursuit requiring tenacity as draft after draft is tweaked and polished to give it the semblance of a story that can be shared with the world. I found that the antidote to the drudgery is to find a group of like-minded people also on a journey into the unknown as they tentatively explore whether they have what it takes to bring an idea from a seedling to fruition as an identifiable set of characters occupying a real place in a given era. I lived in Brussels for many years and regularly attended the Brussels Writers Group. This also allowed me to share in other aspiring writers’ journeys and experiences and exchange ideas and critique each other’s work. I always lived in my imagination, so I suppose everything is a blend of my imaginings but with a tincture of today’s reality at its core.
Enough of the navel-gazing, I hear you say. Okay, it’s time to roll up the sleeves!!!
Pulling these three strands together is not easy. But it had to be done. Otherwise, there would not be a manuscript spewing out from the printer.