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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Come For a Walk with Me

Sleeping late is not like me, but I have been sleeping so well the past three weeks that only once did I wake at 4 a.m. Other mornings Sarah has gotten me out of bed but rarely before seven. Usually, after Sarah and along with coffee, writing was my occupation for morning after morning. I say was. I wrote every morning, not suspecting that inspiration was seeping away, ebbing like the tide, until two stories in process had gone flat and dry. What now? Delete 5,000 words and begin over? Begin something else? Read another book? Take a break? Saturday morning I decided to take a walk.

After a pouring rain that kept her inside for most of the day before, Sarah was happy to get outdoors before sunrise. Ground and air were full of smells for her to investigate.

Cats preened as they waited for weekend fishermen to appear.

A small heron (sorry, no picture of it) floated effortlessly over Hammock Creek on its way out to the Gulf, while woodpeckers and kingfishers took up posts over sheltered water. Everywhere around quiet little Aripeka life was swooping and singing, and being out in it felt wonderful. Does “heaven” really lie offshore, as the sign on Norfleet’s store proclaims? It’s not right here?

A soft breeze caressed my face, as I walked north, Gulf to my left, sunrise to my right. The Florida sawgrass coast evokes the Illinois prairie in my mind’s eye. Can you see it?

On the prairie, farmhouses, barns and shade trees form islands in the vast ocean of plowed fields, whereas here the offshore Gulf hammocks stand out like sentries of land in unbounded fields of water.

The sunrise was here, there and everywhere--in the east, naturally, where one expects it, but also in the light creeping over the sawgrass to the west and in the clouds overhead and in their reflections in the water at my feet.

Looking back at these pictures and recollecting indoors the sensations of a beautiful morning in the open air, I can’t help thinking that inspiration’s departure, whether its absence be temporary or permanent, left beautiful gifts in its wake. And if I write no books, there will be no dearth of books to buy, to read and to sell. Others, more talented than I, will make sure of that.


Anonymous said...

A fine day, then, all the way around. I could stand a little of that soft breeze, but we had lovely sunshine so that's all right. What would happen, d'you think, if you put one of your characters in a tight corner and had to get him/her out? Just as an exercise. You might get interested in the little miscreant again.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely lovely walk. Thank you for sharing it with us. So many beautiful photos! Pamela, when I was writing that "novel" in you know how many times I got bored to death with the whole thing? Ready to throw it in the garbage? How painful some sections were to write? And then...and some of the most boring junctions, that's when something would turn, something would move, something would change. It was more like a practice in sitting, sitting, sitting and waiting for the energy to change.

At one point I discovered my boredom had to do with a pre-planned idea about how it should proceed. When I followed the energy into a certain character (and away from the larger pre-planned idea) then the energy started hopping again.

It was the same with the outdoor adventure. My disinterest/boredom had to be ignored, mostly. I have learned--errr-well am still learning--how to sit within the space of those flat and dry areas and not budge for a long while.

Please do not delete the 5,000 words. Either keep writing some more flat & dry for awhile (and it probably isn''s probably just the mind...or take off in a slightly different direction where the energy is flowing.)

Yes? :)

Dawn said...

What a great walk! I love the marsh grass...and is that a kingfisher bird up in that tree? Soft breezes sound really nice....I hope you find the answer to the writing sticky point. I agree...write through it. You never know what it will morph into.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely walk. I can smell that humid Florida smell and feel the soft breeze. You've inspired me to think about a trip to Leesburg to see my dad! I've had the same thoughts about writing--like there aren't enough stories out there already. But that's not why we do it, right? It's the doing itself. That's why you've probably already gone back and started rewriting! :-)

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you all for your advice, support and encouragement. I'm still "on break" but know I'll be back to writing soon. I have four stories I feel are keepers and two that are stalled. The next thing I'll be writing will probably be a new story.

Yes, Dawn, that was a kingfisher. One of these days I'll do a whole post on birds. Haven't seen anything particularly rare, but I enjoy the birds I see.

Mr G said...

You've got got the talent. That's me over there cheering for you!

P. J. Grath said...

Time will tell, Steve. Meantime, when you're cheering for the Northport Wildcats, put in a yell for me, too.