Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Writer of Flesh

Because writing is par-excellence an occupation of the mind, we tend to forget we don’t write with our minds only. Actually, I tend to forget that I’m more than a mind, floating disembodied through space and toying with pretty ideas.
So I don’t understand why I shouldn’t be able to write while I’m ill. Or why after writing a big action scene I feel like I’ve run a hundred miles. Or why sometimes when I force myself to write while out of it, the scene is "okay but lacks strength."
The truth is – and now there’s research to this effect – that our bodies and minds are more linked than we wish to believe. Thinking about exercising can build muscle, for instance. (Which might explain my being ravenous after battle scenes.) Someone related a writer’s peculiar breathing patterns to the rhythm of her written sentences (no, I don’t remember whom, it was one of the consumptive Victorians, I think.) You can look at the work of some writers at a time when they were known to be sick and see the difference, even if the illness was "very much of the body" like... stomach issues.
In childhood I loved Giovanni Guareschi’s Don Camillo books – in a different way I still do. I find him one of the most perfect writers of short-shorts ever – and I remember in one of the stories there was a sentence that went something like this "But priests are made of more than soul or spirit. They’re made of flesh. And when the priest made of flesh takes the priest made of soul by the scruff of the neck..." You get the idea.
Unfortunately these last two years my writer of flesh keeps grabbing the rest of me by the scruff of the neck and mostly bringing me to an absolute stop for several days or weeks. I hate it. I end with deadlines blown and feeling like I’m being lazy. I should be able to write even while coughing. I should. But writers are not made only of brain and spirit... they’re made of flesh.
Right now this writer of flesh has a horrible head cold and is trying desperately not to force herself to work.
On the good side, heard from fans that Heart And Soul, the third of my Magical British Empire trilogy with Bantam books is arriving from Amazong and at various local bookstores.
More importantly, yesterday I heard from a good writing friend in whose opinion I put a lot of stock, and he’s enjoying reading it. So... head cold notwithstanding, yay.

3 comments:

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Hi Sarah,

LOL! If only we could connect our brains directly to the computer and just pour the books in at the speed of thought!

Cheers, Rowena

Marianne said...

Hi Sarah,
What Rowena said!! :-D

I have such a hard time writing when I feel 'off' physically or mentally. Those times I just want to burrow under a blankie on the sofa with a really good book. :-D

Have had a bit of difficulty with that in recent weeks, but I'm persevering anyway with my mystery novel. :-)

Hugs,
Marianne

Dave Freer said...

Darn meat-puppet shouldn't be allowed to affect the puppeteer. My biggest hassle is when I allow the the meat-puppeteer to become obsessively angry about something.