Monday, September 10, 2012

Sleeping Giant...

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve. ---  Rear Admiral Yamamoto, Navy of Japan December 1942

 Sleeping Giant Inish Tuaisceart - Blasket Island

I stumbled on photos of Ireland's Sleeping Giant Island and immediately the images haunted me. Being a lover a natural phenomena, I get lovely childlike chills every time I look at this photograph. My imagination runs wild with it. The believably unbelievable. Fantasy.

In the back of my mind, though, the words sleeping giant teased. Where had I heard them before? Then I remembered another haunting---but real---moment in history in which those words were spoken. In reference to the war with the United States, Admiral Yamamota of Japan's Navy said these words. Too late, at least he recognized his country had stirred the mighty sleeping giant into a terrible, unstoppable resolve.

Those words and the photographs of the incredible, mysterious isle jumbled together in my mind in the most troubling yet enlightening storm of my writing venture.

I don't mean to trivialize historical events; but I couldn't help but parallel that thought...a sleeping my own present condition.

This is not about writers' block. Writers' block is temporary. For a true writer, it almost always goes away. Different means of annihilating it for different authors, but it's usually always curable.

No, this is about something deeper, something that's been binding my mind---where creativity is concerned, anyway---and has almost completely smothered that once-lovely process inside me.

What to attribute it to, I don't know. Maybe the deaths of loved ones this year. Maybe it's something physical. I don't know. But whatever it is, my desire to write has---in the last few weeks---been nil. It's as though some switch between my heart and my brain has been shut off. Not only shut off but almost rusted over.

The torture of it? The damn characters are still there, running around in my mind. I'm here to tell you, there really is such a thing as a plot bunny, because these babies are multiplying rapidly. Their faces, their dialogue, their stories. Yet, right now, they're only a maddening, nightmarish conglomeration of disjointed junk.

But they ARE there, and I'm happy for that. That means my writing pulse is not completely flatlined.

Okay, to the link between the sleeping giant and me?

It's really  kind of beautiful.

I realized, when I read those infamous---or famous?---words of Yamamota's that this force inside me, these characters simmering just below the surface, are just that. A beautiful sleeping giant.

Beacuse sleeping giants are sleeping. They may not rise to the surface until provoked or just simply tired of resting, but they are not dead, they are only dormant. And when they are stirred, when they finally do become active? Like the power of one of nature's most beautiful spectacles, the volcano, they are unleashed and what comes from them is pure and fierce. And natural.

So, instead of trying to force creativity on myself while this force inside me slumbers, I'm going to try to be patient. Sure, I'll write something, anything, just to keep the cranks primed.

I'll stop being envious because other authors are churning out stories, the new releases. I'll have to learn patience and accept that my timing is my own. And that I can't force this timing. If I drag my sleeping giant out of hibernation before its season, all I'm going to get is a sleepy version of my own talent. And that's not good enough for me.

It's exciting to know----more importantly---to FEEL that there are beautiful stories inside me waiting to be told. By me and me alone. And I suspect they are going to be worth the wait. And I suspect when my own personal giant is fully will be with a terribly beautiful resolve.


Laura said...

Sounds like writers's block to truly does, honey. The characters are alive in your mind, but they are busy sorting themselves out. When they do, you won't be able to stop the words. Until they do, nothing about writing feels right.
Now follow my convoluted logic...The average person walking down the street doesn't get writer's block. Only writers get writer's block. You are blocked, therefore, proof positive that you are a WRITER. Which means it's only a matter of time because...writers write.

Dorien/Roger said...

Well and wisely said, Carol. I suspect the giant is not that deeply asleep.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Oh, Laura, I hope that's all. If it is, I know it'll go away. It just seems so much stronger than the usual writers' block. I at least know what waits will be worth it.

Vastine Bondurant said...

I hope, hope, hope you are right, Dorien.

Victor j. Banis said...

Carol, I'm going through exactly the same thing, and oddly, I don't think of it as writer's block, either, just a time out. My take on it has just been to relax, occupy myself with other projects (of which I have no shortage) and wait till Mr. Giant wakes himself up - as I have no doubt he will.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Victor, it's actually a piece of advice from YOU that I keep in my mind at this time. You said once to leave the characters alone, to let them hang out in my head, all by themselves. And that's what I'm doing. As long as they're not silent in there, I know they're going to return and they'll let me know what they decided they wanted me to do with them. LOL...

Nice to see you!

Lloyd Meeker said...

I reject the idea that somehow a fallow field is not creative or productive just because it's not currently growing a crop. Below the surface, the soil is being revitalized with essential nourishment and life forms that will support a good harvest when the time for growing comes.

Let your ideas frolic and mature in the dark forest at the edge of the fallow field. They'll come out of the forest and help you plant and tend your crop when it's time.

Maybe my metaphors are too heavy-handed, but I hope you take them as encouragement to let your creative field lie fallow for a while if it needs to. The most important work for your next novel is going on under the surface.

In the meantime, write for your blog, play with "unimportant" sketches, notes. Pretend you don't notice your characters growing up wild and beautiful in the dark forest.

Cassie Exline said...

As someone who just woke from her slumber, it's writer's block, my dear. My head was a buzz with ideas, but I refused to acknowledge any. I ho-humed and pretended I didn't care. I lurked on Facebook and watched my dear friends go forth and write, write, write.

Still I pretended I didn't give a ho-hum. But I did, I was felt lost and incomplete. Rest for a while, research something anything. I love researching. Next thing I know, I'm making notes, then typing just little bit, then more.

A very special friend kept posting her word counts, she was going to write at least 50 words a day. Well, hells bells, I could do that.

Finally, the dam burst, ho-hum my butt, and I'm back baby. You were that inspiration, Doll.

Take a break if you need it, I'll keep the light on for you. Hugs

Vastine Bondurant said...

Oh, Cassie, and I know who that friend was who was going to do 50 words a day.

I NEEDED that reminder, dollface! So thank you!

And you go, go, go on your writing!


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Life is hard sometimes. I guess when times get rough it's a reminder to take care of us first. Hard to do when you're used to doing for others. I do understand though. I thought my summer was pretty easy, but then suddenly there's this dark cloud over my head and I can't shake it. Maybe we should join forces and light up each other's space. Here's my light shining down on you, Carol. Take care of yourself, dear friend.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Joylene, I swear, I swear we were separated at birth or something. Sometimes it's uncanny how you feel and know me, and vice versa.

Here's some sunshine on you as well, dear friend. **Hugs and lots of light**

Nikolaos said...

I've been struggling with this for a while. Just uninterested in writing. Good luck with your "sleeping giant"

Lisa Magoch Johnson said...

Yet, today, you are churning out word upon word. No need to ever be envious. You already have one full book in publication. You will have more.