There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man...everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.
- "Three Methods Of Reform" by Leo Tolstoy
My mind works better when my body is still half asleep, it seems. That's why I write in the mornings and tend to the greater world later in the day. Two days from now will mark the beginning of summer, and it's already hot by one pm. One friend asked me last year, "Why in the world are you doing yardwork at the hottest time of the day?" That was at about two pm, and it's hottest in the mountains around four pm, just before the breezes start, but I rarely quibble about such things with friends.
But there is some sense, I think, to my routine. Writing is all about attempting to superimpose order on the chaos of life, even to the point of tapping into parallel universes (physicists are all about such alternate realities these days. Maybe if they read more novels they'd realize that idea is so last millenmium.) But were that all I to do, with my somewhat innate sense of order, my writing would become predictable, sterile. So I make a point to be outdoors in the afternoon, where nature's delightful, awsome chaos reigns.
Yesterday I harvested potatoes. Despite digging with care, I managed to spear a half-dozen of them with my garden fork. Two days ago, I cleaned vegetation and algae from my koi pond. The spillway was alga-ed to the nines, and in the process of scraping it from the rocks, I accidentally killed a female salamander. Her egg sac was the first thing to protrude from her fatal wound. We have almost no mosquitoes, but two found me while I was weeding today, burrowing their proboscises into my ankle and leaving itchy lumps.
Leo Tolstoy, hair wild, eyes wide and seemingly demented, worked in the fields with his serfs. Why? Judging by his writing, he wanted to immerse himself in creation as part of a process of re-inventing himself. In his fields, in my quarter acre, as we may try to impose order, nature has other ideas, setting its own random processes against our more deterministic ones. The result is, at its best, a scape of semi-ordered islands among Nature's own creative randomness. But, I now understand, this natural chaos is underlain by the grander whisper of order.
That's how writing is. We begin with a seed of an idea, and then it erupts in wild, creative abandon. From that point on, the writer's role is to shape that primal creativity, to prune its stray ends away in order to reveal a beauty we're certain lies within. To do less is to write effetely; to do more is to quiet Nature's loud, beautiful voice as it probes its way through us. Properly done, this is more than story; its a manner of personal reinvention, through ideas and understanding.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.