Archive for June 2009

The Waiting Room of the Mind: web-longings of a Writer

June 13, 2009

Blogging should probably  be blonging: web-longing to be writing real stuff while relegated to waiting (in the waiting room of the mind) to hear from publisher/s-agent/s- editor/s to whom our precious words were submitted.  Even the tiniest spark of encouragement,  the smallest interim ‘sorry still reading the in-pile’ is taken as Big Time Hope that our three-year Magnum Opus has received a moment’s notice; that the publishing world is understandably going through a lot of stuff lately and they’ll finally realize what a gem they have ready to roll.  

Writers have to be tough. It goes with the territory: loners at best; communing with our computers; social outcasts at worst – unless or until our talents are recognized and we are inundated with chatter and praise and, worst of all, false friendship.  We have to recognize it all, because the mind devises every scenario (didn’t we just give one of those attributes to a character in chapter 42? its opposite to the antagonist in chapter 6?)  

Inside, if we are true to ourselves, in the interim waiting room of the mind we are above the wrangling, above the pressures that drive an editor to tackle the daily mound of MSS she knows she has to get through. We are guided by an inner equilibrium; sometimes by a need to express something – anything – in print; on a good day, we are in thrall to our Muse.

Ah, that elusive entity, the Muse.

S/he is the keeper of the Stargate: it is s/he who decides what comes out and what stays inside.  If we are really honest with ourselves, it is s/he who not only inspires, but dictates. 

And on days when s/he doesn’t, the poor earthbound writer sits at the computer anyway – never too far from the email inbox or the internet search engine, just in case an idea pops; a thought which needs to be ‘researched’.  

Naturally there are other days when the mind doesn’t even say hello to the Muse: those are days of the rewrite, the ruthless self-editor at work, preening and primping and heartlessly chopping whole chunks of dialogue, along with necessary adverbs and future conditionals.  On those days the writer is just that; no room to be the ‘other’, the author, the celebrated creator, Muse-instrument.  

They say it takes two to tango.  In the case of writing, it takes something in the order of 52 and those personalities are all within.  It’s a miracle some of them ever get out: but that’s what writing is all about.

Successful authors, screenplay-writers, budding novelists, dramatists, wannabe magazine contributors: we are all alike in our self-doubt when we are stuck in the waiting room of the mind.  Maybe that’s why we decorate it with figments and pigments – to cheer the place up till the real stuff comes along.

Are you a frustrated author? a self-disciplined writer of a daily quota? or simply another patient ? (pun intended).  Whichever it is, you are most welcome to join the rest of us here in the waiting room of the mind.


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