As soft rain falls in curtains from a bright white sky I am cosy and warm in my office cave. Suddenly, I miss my blog, and am compelled to write – despite the vast weight of an enormously challenging editing job, its files open on my desktop, awaiting a sensitive, constructive cull.
I find I need to circle in on this manuscript, and pounce. Undertake radical surgery while remaining calm and connected to the spirit of it’s fascinatingly complex, passionate author. Then rest. Retreat to other pursuits that I know will restore and replenish me: time with family and friends; writing morning pages; writing this blog post; reading a good novel; attending the launch of a book that inspires me; when the rain abates, taking a walk in nature.
As the winter solstice approaches, and with it, my sixtieth birthday, I feel a sense of peaceful liberation. The novel I’m currently reading is Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, an extraordinary piece of storytelling that sets up a sense of wonderment not only at the imagination which has created and masterfully crafted it, but at the fact that the author is so young – in her early twenties when she wrote this compelling book.
So busy and full is my life, yet so wintry the weather, that I am inspired to reflect on the symbolism of it all. Winter is the time for reflection, after all. For allowing seeds sown in warmer weather to germinate and gain strength and substance before sending vivid green shoots up from the earth. No matter how busy or even frantic our outer lives might be, the weather insists on inwardness, on drawing warmth towards us and wrapping ourselves in protective layering.
Over coffee recently, my novelist friend Christos talked about writing, and about the deep place one needs to find in order to be able to write well. His comment led me into further pondering of the winter metaphor.
When we write, and even when we edit, we are most likely to do our best work if we are fresh and unharried. If we step aside from the hurly-burly of daily life, even for short periods, we are more likely to find and be able to access the spaciousness that expands out of the stillness where creativity resides.
It’s time for me to circle in and pounce again on that manuscript. Patches of blue sky shimmer through dripping foliage, and drifts of sunlight glisten on sodden lawn.