I didn't seem to have any ideas for what to write here this morning, so I inquired of the I Ching if it had any suggestions for a topic for today. The Ching gave me the hexagram,"Keeping Still." LOL. My first thought, upon seeing that, was, "I can take a hint." Keeping still sounded like a good idea. After a full week of blogging, on the sixth day, she rested. Time to read, think, ponder?
So, I wrote a post saying that this will be a day of keeping still on the blog for me.
It wouldn't post. Again and again, it wouldn't post. Hmm.
So I asked the I Ching, "What am I missing here?"
I got the suggestion, "There is a large fruit still uneaten."
I'm missing an opportunity for something juicy, in other words. And what might that be? Why, the role of Keeping Still in the writing life, of course.
Maybe because I'm an only child, being alone and quiet has never been a problem for me. In fact, I need it, crave it regularly, have to close my eyes if I'm surrounded by too many people for too long and need to shut them out. But it was never as important to me as it was when I plunged into writing fiction.
From the beginning of my fiction-writing career, Keeping Still has been essential for me. When I switched from having freelance clients to having no clients, and I descended into my basement office to work on fiction fulltime, I understood it was essential to carve out great chunks of time when nobody could get to me. I turned on the telephone answering machine. I resigned from organizations and volunteer work. I turned down invitations. I gave myself the luxury of time and silence, and that became part of the juicy matrix in which I grew myself as a novelist and short story writer. A year and a half later, when I had a child, I got one of those baby monitors and put one end in his room and the other end in mine. When he slept, I went to the basement and wrote in the blissful silence. The hell with housework. The hell with naps for myself. (I never could nap, anyway.) The hell with talking on the phone with friends. (I hate the phone, anyway.) Heaven was half an hour, or a few hours, with the silence and my IBM Selectric Typewriter.
I meet wannabe writers who just won't turn the world off. Everything else comes first, before their writing (or drawing, or whatever). Everybody else comes first. They're not as driven and selfish as I was, perhaps.
I can't work as a writer without hours, days of silence. I protect it. I hide from invaders, and if that doesn't deter them, I snarl. GRRR. Warning: Writer at Work. They may not take me seriously, but I do, because I'm the only one who can finish my book.
I like to reword the old submarine saying to: Go Silent, Go Deep.
I'm submerging today, but I'm sure I'll be chatty later. See you then.