Staring You in the Face

Behold, the aha moment!

That nanosecond when at last your brain engages gear.

When the Vaseline smearing your inner-camera lens is wiped away and you perform an internal triumphant victory lap that clarity is now yours. The answer, the truth, all the clues you needed were there all this time…staring you in the face.

Perhaps this aha moment then paves way for a more successful change in life’s direction or attitude.

Perhaps this spark of clarity impounds repercussions for you being last off your mark (aka, you should’ve spotted the glow of neon earlier).

Invite farce and folly to lighten the mood!

Some days, all one needs is a cleverly-drawn cartoon. One with astute caption to reignite synapses and prompt a pause of levity. I love New Yorker cartoons by David Borchart. I’ve held on to this one for ages and always smile when glimpsing The Raven outwitting its opponent with a supremely ironic Scrabble coup de grâce!

‘You’re gonna hate yourself,’ quoth the raven. Not mocking, merely stating the obvious.

It’s that forehead-slapping doh moment that can baffle the sharpest and wiliest of characters.

Have we not all experienced this?

‘Gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door ‘

My blog has idled for over a week.

A raven’s been perched on my shoulder. When I have questioned will I ever find time to post here, he pecks away with cries of ‘nevermore.’

I’ve been writing in my head for hours per day, boasting less-than-impressive actual production on the page. I am plagued by characters’ voices imploring me to type out their dialogue and hit cmd+S so their words and feelings are secure in my hard-drive. I have pretended not to hear them.

To my rescue enters my too-wise-to-be-believed mother, who has never admonished me in my lifetime. I share with her that I have hit a block of writing bricks. As ever, she assures me that ‘even when you are writing in your head, you are writing.’ My mother is an editor, she is truly lovely and I make a note in my journal to keep her.

I wrote here weeks ago about experiencing a resurgence of imagination—lack of imagination is not the barrier now, it’s the feeling of too many projects that damns me to unproductivity. My head houses a hurricane of words that all morph into a cataclysmic crash of lexicon carnage. I dream in technicolour.

Then I woke today with this New Yorker cartoon etched behind my still-closed eyelids. Cue creative epiphany:

Stop setting out each day to (metaphorically) scale the Chrysler Building. Cease raising the daily bar of literary expectations to produce work rivalling Dorothy Parker’s. Writing can be simple. Effectively simple.

This is the answer. Look squarely at what is staring me in face, do not flinch and move forward. Acceptance is key. I am lucky to have several writing outlets:

  • The novel is there. It often writes itself, flowing on my MacBook or woven through grey matter.
  • I love my blog and the connective blogosphere. If I can’t find time to post, reading others’ blogs is an impressive trek through the garden of other writers/photographers/ruminators/bright sparks spanning the globe.
  • This was today’s true lightbulb moment: I’ve amassed a towering Everest of short stories that now suck up the majority of my computer’s memory so why not publish those? Why not, dammit? Why only realise this now after slogging away at them?

 Word-count or words count?

This post has most assuredly gone off piste. So, what I have learned writing it?

A few weeks ago I confessed to cheating on my blog with my novel; now, I am inviting another feisty guest to the party: a book of short stories.

I may self-publish the collection just so feel the weight of it in my hand by end of 2017. Also, bound paper makes a useful gift for friends at Christmas—read it, use the book as a coaster, tear out pages for emergency gift wrap.

I know nowt about self-publishing but, until the novel is complete, this short story concept rocks.

‘Still beguiling all my fancy into smiling’

Consider the raven playing Scrabble.

Inspired by poetry, he is fixed on altering ‘evermore’ to ‘nevermore.’

Be gone!’ I curse the bird, nestling his sleek ebony feathers against my neck.

Today, I am shouting only positive statements to encourage creativity in myself and any other creatives cruising this blog. After all, Poe faced some mighty personal and professional demons but clearly never banished his quill from the paper, nevermore to be writing again!

Poe wrote powerful stuff, did our Edgar Allan. He is credited for inventing detective fiction, the artful writing form of twisting an ending so the reader does not see what is ‘staring them in the face’ all along as they turned pages.

This post itself has been rather a twisting tale: Scrabble, Poe, ravens, overcoming writers block, general musings.

I appreciate your company on my meandering train of thought.

Estella