Writing from the Cave

My writing sometimes feels very distant from me, like a thing I’m looking for but cannot locate in a cluttered closet. That is how it feels right now: like Eastlight is a world spinning out there on its own, and I can’t connect with it. One thing I’ve always struggled with and need to master, is the ability to just pick up a book I’m writing and be able to work on it regardless of what’s happening in my outer life. It’s not quite the same as inspiration. If I feel uninspired, I can always edit. In fact, that’s the best time for me to edit: when I can read it without wanting to take an idea off in a dozen directions. Right now if feels like going to the gym: a good habit that I’ve gotten out of.

In defense of my laziness, it’s been a hell of a year so far. I do not know if it’s the leap year effect, as some have suggested, the stress of the impending election, the economy, or a dozen other things, but 2008 so far felt very chaotic, like a lot of changes are happening very quickly.

Of course that turns my mind to fantasy. Change can happen so quickly, on such a large scale, that a kingdom can turn from peaceful to oppressive nearly overnight. Coups and political machinations are slowly plotted but often quickly executed. Keeping the people fed and in shelter requires a delicate balance between order and nature. Our world is filled with political strife and starving people. Fantasy mirrors these problems.

Conflict is essential when writing. You don’t want to read a story where everything is idyllic and your main character is completely unchallenged. How can they possibly grow if they don’t experience change? How can we? Change can come quickly, without warning. That is true in life or in fiction.

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