Every afternoon, I drive the 20 miles to the Badlands (and I have the gas bills to prove it.)
I do this as preparation for writing The Darkness You Fear. The 20 miles gives me a chance to remove myself, physically and mentally, from whatever else I was doing. By the time I get there, I'm committed to writing something, after all I've spent the time and money to get there so I better be productive.
It doesn't hurt that I'm writing a weird western. The landscape really gets me in the mood.
I've seen one coyote on my walks. Yesterday I heard a coyote yip yip yipppppeeeeeinggg! away, it sounded like just a few hundred feet away. It was answered by a distant yip yip yippppeeeiinnng! Very cool.
I've been startled two or three times by huge owls who swoop out of the trees. Strangely, I haven't seen deer. I see more deer in town or in the pastures along the road out to the Badlands. And I've come across one poor forlorn chicken and felt forever guilty about leaving it there.
Mostly though, it's just quiet. I get a little put out when I run into people. This is MY path!
I often talk to myself, give myself a little pep talk. But mostly I just wait for the ideas to come. Not force them, but open myself up to them.
And they come. How lucky is that? I seem to have a lot creative energy, and I'm spending it. Spending all of it. After all, I don't how long this will last.
I have a great deal of admiration for my fellow writers who have jobs or young families and health and money issues, who have an outside life and friends and all that and still manage to write.
I spent 30 years unable to write.
But I've cleared the decks. Writing comes first, (except for Linda who cuts me as much slack as she can, and because she is a kind and generous person, that's a lot.)
Anyway, once I'm at the Badlands, I'll either stay in the car, if the weather it too awful, or go for short walks if it isn't too awful, and go for long walks when the weather it good.
Yesterday was perfect. Not too warm so that walking made me hot, or so cool that sitting made me cold. I just walk and wait for the ideas. Sometimes I spur them a little. "I need a new character, who would that be? I need an action scene, what would it entail?" But mostly, I try to let it be natural.
I get a rush when I come up with a cool scene, a new interesting character, a twist. Yesterday, I had one come up and it actually brought an endorphine flow so strong it brought tears to my eyes. Pure gratitude that such an idea came out of nowhere.
Somewhere in the vast universe, I tell myself, this actually happened. These are real people doing real things, and I'm getting a dim reflection of them and writing them down.
Meanwhile, the walks themselves are like my writing. You take one step at a time, and after awhile you look back and realize you've gone a fair distance, just like you write one word at a time and if you keep doing it, you cover ground.
You do it everyday, and its good exercise. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a good exercise for the body, the mind, the emotions, the soul.
I call it "walking the book."
6 days ago