Thursday, 1 February 2018

Red Riding Hood

Working as a writer means keeping to a disciplined path. It's solitary and focussed. There are some tasks that feel like climbing mountains, where you have to steady your nerve and say, "Come on. You know you can actually do this. Just begin."

There are times like today, when I've completed a massive piece of writing . . . and another piece of work has come in. 

Last year when my health wasn't good, I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the one I've just completed now. I hadn't the strength. It took a lot of working on my health to be able to continue. And that's an aspect of the discipline: it isn't something people normally associate with writing, but it is all part and parcel of keeping to the path. It's ascetic in some ways; it requires simplicity of lifestyle that at times feels severe.

Then today, because I managed to finish it, I feel like celebrating — but I've made no provision for celebrating! I live so simply, I eat so simply, I don't drink, I choose solitude, I chat with no wolves . . .  And there's the new work waiting to be done, plus a new project of my own slowly hatching.

This last few weeks has felt like swimming — breaststroke, strong, slow advancing through a resistant body of water. A sermon, more work on book, a magazine article, more work on book, another sermon, more work on book . . . on . . . on . . . keep going . . .

A bit beached today.

16 comments:

Rebecca said...

I can only imagine!
(However, I'm smack in the middle of reading At Seventy, a journal of the poet May Sarton. I think you would identify with much of her writing - you've probably already read her.....)
Celebrate YOUR way!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

I did. I lit a fire, and sat beside it quietly as the evening came. It was lovely. x

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Pen! It sounds as though you've given it your all, and I'm so glad you watched the evening come in by way of celebration. A gentle peace and balm for an overworked mind. Perfect.
It's probably a good thing to have more work waiting for your attention. I haven't written a whole book, but I remember the H-U-G-E anti climax when I finished a long ongoing piece of work. What to do?! What to do first?!
Ah yes, stroke the cat, watch the night sky, breathe the morning air... :)
Deb

Pen Wilcock said...

"stroke the cat, watch the night sky, breathe the morning air"

Oh yes!

Fiona said...

Congratulations on finishing your most recent piece of writing, Pen! That's wonderful news. I hope you enjoyed exactly the type of celebration you wanted and needed as soon as the time was right.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Penelope,
Congratulations on completing projects, and receiving more! I hope health is feeling a bit more manageable. Productive and busy can both feel good if the rest of life is not too overwhelming. Glad you can take enjoyment from the simple things, a good lesson for us all. I'm off for a few much needed days of contemplation at my favorite retreat center soon. My first winter experience there.
be blessed,
DMW

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh — may your retreat be rich with blessing, and very peaceful. x

BLD in MT said...

Huzzah, Pen. I trust you celebrated in your own quiet, simple way! I'll raise a toast to you this evening when we gather with Matt's brother.

Pen Wilcock said...

There was a project a few years ago called "Song around the world". I have on my I-Tunes the version of "Stand By Me" they made. You can see a less full version of it on YouTube (I'll look and post a link below). I loved the idea of musicians of different places and cultures, often very poor people, having the chance to play internationally. What you just said about raising a hand when you are together with Matt's brother made me think of that. I shall be there.

:0)

xx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM

BLD in MT said...

I'm not surprised to find we're kindred spirits here, too.... I LOVE the Playing For Change songs around the world! I bought a few of their albums even. https://bld-in-mt.blogspot.com/2011/04/playing-for-change.html

I knew you were with us in spirit!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

xx

Julie B. said...

"...I chat with no wolves..."

Yes.

xoxo

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

xx

Bean Meeks said...

Sometimes the celebration is simply the amazing satisfaction of a job well done.

Peace to you,

Bean

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes!!