“How can you sit down to write, when you have never stood up to live…”
– Henry David Thoreau
Writing A Life Not Lived
As I sit here on the edge of the breakfast bar in my kitchen, patio door open to the outside world where the sky is making pathetic threats to rain I know it will never follow through on, I contemplate.
My tea is brewing nicely, but I am not quite ready to add milk to the Earl Grey. I feel I cannot commit to the final product until I know its journey is fully complete. And whilst I know that it is simply tea, one that I can make time and time again, it seems to me an icon of a further struggle.
At present, my thoughts are not readily available to the wider world. They are trapped inside my head, wrestling for attention. Today I am writing and tomorrow I will be too; but if I cannot get inside the head of my character, all I will be typing are words. Going through the motions like an engine ticking over. A pendulum on a clock. I wonder if they have ambitions above their station? Sometimes as a writer, I fear that is the battle I am facing. Am I just someone who types words on a computer, or am I a writer? At what point does the story become alive, burning with life and ferociously determined to breathe, to survive. I feel my character’s pain in my heart, but recently not my head. We are two separate people and I feel that needs to change before I can truly write her properly.
At some point the rain may come, just as she may saunter from the depths of my emotion, to greet me. I need to feel something more than the dull monotony of a grey morning, with a cup of over brewed tea.