Remedial writing


Since losing the baby I have avoided working on my novel, not because I haven’t wanted to write, but because I am aware that my current mood might change the tone of the story, which would defeat its purpose. The novel is, in essence, about the sense of wonder and keeping/regaining it as an adult. All of us are born with this innate sense, but many of us misplace it as we develop and collect experiences. I have managed to maintain a strong sense of wonder throughout my adult life and it’s the one thing I’m most proud of. As a younger woman I recall being mesmerised by the giant sequoia of California. The very idea of living organism reaching such enormous heights as well as girth was all at once wondrous and difficult for my young mind to comprehend. Add to that the fact that they can live for thousands of years and it takes on a mystical quality. During a conversation with two friends many years ago about these amazing organisms, I came to understand that this sense of wonder isn’t as vivacious in everyone as I’d thought. We were talking about one sequoia in particular – General Sherman, then the largest tree in the world by volume. During the conversation I admitted that I was completely smitten with this tree and that it gave me an overwhelming sense of wonder. They could not understand and could not agree. When I asked them both to name something that does give them a sense of wonder, they gave a resounding nothing. To express a sense of wonder was silly and irrelevant. I asked them to go outside and look up into the night sky and then tell me what they felt. One shrugged and the other shook her head not understanding what I was asking: it’s just space. Later I discovered why my questions were met with such antipathy. Someone close to me, who had also refused to acknowledge his own sense of awe, once explained why to me:  The world, life, existence is uncomfortably big for some people and most of it is unfamiliar. To look up and wonder what is out there, to contemplate the majesty of a non-sentient organism, to explore those sensations, is to question ones own existence and thus purpose. For some it minimises their own existence. Furthermore, to ask such questions, for which there is often no immediate or serviceable answer, is superfluous. Worse still, what if one does discover the answer and it is unfavourable? What then? While I could follow the logic, it made no sense. Earth, our garden and playground is a truly wondrous place. Whoever or whatever the forces are that made Earth, it is precious and worth appreciating. Every day I find something to smile and wonder at. Having that sense of wonder makes the darkest moments pass more quickly. The brighter moments last longer; you become more receptive and less fearful of those things that don’t make sense. That is why I decided to write the novel. Nevertheless it is a tricky topic and requires a great deal of mental and emotional energy, neither of which I have in great abundance right now. Next week I might feel different. For now I’ve decided to immerse myself in remedial writing – writing without objective, or direction; writing that is unforced and unrehearsed. Remedial writing keeps the heart ticking and the mind from plateauing. For me this means picking a genre that I find easy to write, say, speculative fiction or prehistoric fiction. Writing doesn’t always have to be functional, but it should be pleasurable.

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About Sharon

Writer, bibliophile, dreamer and student of everything
This entry was posted in JOURNAL ENTRY, ME ON WRITING and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Remedial writing

  1. vanyieck says:

    Your post reminds me of two things. I had a similar sense of wonder a couple of weeks ago while on vacation. We were in a river at the based of a waterfall. It was an incredible experience knowing that the water that fell from the heights above would never pass that way again. Even in the ordinariness of that day, it was in one sense an extraordinary moment.

    The second thing I thought of was C.S. Lewis. After he lost his wife to cancer Lewis wrote through his grief. It wasn’t meant to be published, but his close friends urged Lewis to release for publication. I cannot claim to relate to your grief, and for that reason I wouldn’t impose a recommendation to read his book. What I found interesting was that writing became the catalyst for his grief.

    • Thank you vanyieck for sharing your experience at the waterfall. I enjoy reading about other people’s experiences so much. Thank you also for your comments about CS Lewis and writing through grief. Everyone can relate to grief; the context in which it occurs may differ, but grief is grief and most of us have the capacity to empathise. You understand more than you think you do.

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