Living a Dream – Day 7

IMG_9562When the normal life you’ve made for yourself is on hold, when its day to day living can’t intrude, distract or make demands, or if it does you can’t do anything anyway, writing is easy.

Time is what I’m giving myself here in Menerbes. Not just time to write, but time to do nothing. Time to observe this ancient place, its history, culture and the people who live here, but also time to observe my reactions to it. The time to watch this car patiently hold back for ten minutes while the old lady on the stick walked to the top of the hill. old lady car

Although it was 12 degrees celsius again today and the wind was chilly from the north, the sun still carried heat. Our terrace faces south and was like a little piece of Australian winter.

Terrace & back of maison

Terrace & back of maison

This afternoon I ran out of pages in my notebook. Ten minutes later my new pen ran out of ink. I sat out in the sun drowsing and mused on the idea of ‘lack.’ Lack of pen and notebook. Which led to cold being the lack of heat, but how heat is not the lack of cold. Or that indifference is the lack of emotion – love or hate – but love isn’t a lack of indifference. And in this musing about nothing a story that was forming in my mind over the past week took on the shape that looked suspiciously like a novel.

I laughed at myself because I am a short story writer. I’m not a novelist.

In a new notebook and with another new pen I started writing. A girl emerged from behind the old stone walls, turning a corner in the cobblestone street, in the half shuttered windows. I only glimpsed her. I know if I keep writing about the place, about the things I see and feel and think, she will come out of hiding bit by bit.

I’ve been in Menerbes a week now. Suddenly the next two weeks seem like not enough time at all. I’ve still got so much more nothing to do.

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13 Responses to Living a Dream – Day 7

  1. anne54 says:

    Having time is such a special thing, and doing that musing is a special part of the creative process.menjoy every moment!

    • You’re absolutely right, Anne. There are no pressures here, and my writing and musings respond to the freedom and the sheer pleasure of being able to indulge themselves. Thanks for reading!

  2. anne54 says:

    “Enjoy”, of course!

  3. suemasens65 says:

    I am not surprised you feel like writing a novel in this romantic place with its cobble stone streets and walled gardens steeped in in mystery and hinting all sorts of secrets. I’m sure if you stay there long enough some of them will creep into your subconscious and a fine tale will emerge. I would love to be there with my paints and canvases.

    • You would love it here, Sue! The problem would be in which amazing spot do you set up to work. I came across a memorial yesterday to the resistance fighters in WWII and realised the streets in Menerbes are named after them. This town is so richly layered with novel possibilities.

  4. dianathrelfo says:

    What insightful reflections, Karen – positive emotions, states and conditions are never present because of the lack of their opposites; darkness occurs because of the lack of light, not the inverse. The fruits you are deriving from the stirrings of your mind sound most intriguing, creative and full of promise for future writing projects. Particularly love the pic of Ross in the avenue of trees and every day I look forward to finding out what new gems you have shared via your blog.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments, Diana. It’s such a privilege to be here, and to have the time to indulge myself with writing and musing.
      I love putting together my blog posts. In his latest book Robert Dessaix asks the question, ‘What are days for?’ My posts are trying to answer that question for me. I’m thrilled you’re coming on the journey with me!

  5. Maree Gallop says:

    The art of doing nothing is extremely productive!
    I’d love to read your novel, Karen. l did read somewhere once, ‘Life is a handful of short stories pretending to be a novel.’ So go for it!

    • I highly recommend doing nothing, Maree! Unfortunately, you usually have to go away to do it.
      I always thought if I wrote a novel it would be a ‘handful of short stories pretending to be a novel.’ Except this one doesn’t seem to be taking that shape. But I’ll take you advice and go for it!

  6. Wow, I’m loving you’re insights on the word ‘lack’. We had a similar moment in our writing group the other week when we were working out the chronology of a sentence that included the phrase ‘forgetting her search for a mint’ and whether it should go at the start of the sentence or the end. The question we discussed was if one never remembers, do they ever stop forgetting? Looks like you’re in the perfect place to ponder the deep questions such as these!

    • I love those kinds of discussions, Jessie. You have the most amazing writers group. Being here has been great because it has given me the time to follow these type of thoughts where-ever they take me.
      The other interesting thing that has happened is that I also have time to follow things through to the ‘truth’. I find myself writing something, that first socialised response to what I’m thinking about, and a little flicker of doubt comes in. Instead of leaving it and moving on, I ask myself what caused that flicker and write about that. Sometimes the result is that I confirm what I first thought. Sometimes the new insight I get is profound.

      • That sounds fantastic! I’m sure you’ll be able to bring so many of those learnings back home and continue with that new found confidence in your methods.

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