Let The Story Be

I came across the phrase people who love the interior world a while ago. I love this – it completely explains where I find myself right now. I don’t remember where I came across it. Apologies for not crediting a radiant phrase.

It explains the books I loved as a child, and my drive now to go deeper into silence, an amazing roller coaster of discovery. I’m diving deep into the interior world.

When I was a child I adored the poem Halfway Down, by A. A. Milne:

Halfway down the stairs

is a stair

where i sit.

there isn’t any

other stair

quite like it.

I remember myself at four years old counting our basement stairs, finding the middle stair and sitting, contemplating the end of the poem. It isn’t really anywhere. It’s somewhere else instead.

I loved the strangeness of Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, and the magic and wonder of Mary Stewart’s Merlin and Arthur stories – not the sword fighting, but the otherness, the mystery. I find it in transcendental poetry, and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve always been drawn to the mysteries of life, and now I find myself immersed in it. It feels absolutely right.

Now, can I catch this in stories? Part of finding the mystery is allowing myself to not know. Can I “not know” about writing? To simply sit with it, to let it emerge, to be what it needs to be, to let the story become?

I’m editing another novel manuscript. It became clear I need to edit it by retyping it entirely, slowing when I reached anything that isn’t quite right, and letting new words come from a quiet mind. Nothing cognitive, just being with the story.

I’ll hit a paragraph that just doesn’t feel right and let a rewrite flow. I move on through lines that work, that feel right, and when I reach another rough patch, I let the story become what it wants to become.

It’s oddly slow, coming in fits and starts, letting the story set the pace. Once again, I have to release all control and just let the story be.


More Books

I’ve been rereading books I loved when I was a child, after discussing old favorites in Banff.

The Owl Service, by Alan Garner, was strange, and a little oddly written. I would have recommended some editing at the beginning, but by the time I’d finished the story I changed my mind. I’d forgotten what I’d loved about it – that experience of being immersed in strangeness.

Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome, is a great story about kids who turn their daily lives into a pirate adventure. Again, I’d forgotten what it was that I adored about this story. I think it’s that leap into fantasy in their play.

My favorite new book is Witchlanders, by Lena Coakley. I loved this. I’m also deeply impressed by the quality of the story, as this is her first novel. I’d strongly recommend it as a Christmas gift for middle grade and teen lovers of fantasy.



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