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.


I Love Neil Gaiman’s Brain

Someone on Facebook recommended this audio recording while I was on holidays. Internet service was inadequate to listen to it, and I’m so glad. Instead, I listened to it last week, just after finishing Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At the End Of The Lane.

The recording is an hour long discussion between Philip Pullman and Neil Gaiman. I found it fascinating.

I discovered Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman both loved Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons when they were boys. It was one of my favorites, too. I laughed as they quoted, “Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers, won’t drown.”

I wish I could have seen their faces as they discussed illustrations (it was amusingly inappropriate).

Then Pullman started reading at the same paragraph in The Ocean At The End Of The Land that caught my attention so thoroughly that I marked the page and planned to blog about it. I felt like Gaiman was trying to reach deeper than psychological or mythological – deeper still, into physics and creation and imagination. OMG I love his brain. Then they talked about imagination as a genuine way of exploring reality.

I’d strongly recommend listening to it, just after finishing The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.


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