For a couple of days, I’ve been debating two topics for today’s blog. The first was a crafty sort of subject, how to get yourself moving when you’re stuck. The second was weightier, a discussion of the morality of our work.
Life decided it for me. I awakened this morning a little before five, one of my favorite tricks for going deeper into a recalcitrant manuscript. I made a cup of stout English tea with milk and sugar, cloaked myself in thick slippers and a shawl, and stumbled into my office. Following the plan I set up last night, I started mid-sentence on a scene I understood clearly and could actually write without a lot of angst, just to get myself moving forward. In a little over an hour, I managed to write four pages, which felt like a victory, and I headed back downstairs to feed the cats and let the dog out.
One cat was missing, as usual lately. Our 22-year-old snow-point Siamese has been ailing and I have to fetch her from her beloved’s legs to bring her downstairs. When I did so this morning, I discovered that she had passed away peacefully in the night. Tenderly, I picked her up and carried her outside, wrapped in a pretty piece of cloth, and remembered a snippet from a writing advice column (I think it was in Writer’s Digest) I read eons ago: “We write best with the knowledge of mortality at our backs.”
And why would that be? [Read more…]