Today I left the house, trudging several blocks, not miles as it shall become in a later version, to the main road to catch a ride to work. We had been shut in for a mere 48 hours, our street had still not seen a plow and my car was imprisoned in the driveway. The writer in me began to imagine life a century or more ago, when people could be snowed in for entire winters with no other company but themselves. Is that why we still jam supermarkets stocking up on milk, bread and eggs? Today our isolation is interrupted by tv, movies, cellphones, Facebook, and other distractions.
I then recalled the story behind the origins of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The novel was birthed during what she described as a “wet, ungenial summer” where rain kept them confined to the house for days at a time. It was during these long hours where they read to each other, talked and imagined that she first envisioned Frankenstein. Was it the confinement or the company that fueled her imagination?
I’d like to believe that I could adapt to such circumstances. In fact, I occasionally yearn for the less cluttered life, for time alone my thoughts, especially as it pertains to my writing. Ideas often come at the oddest moments, flashes and fragments. To give them form and life, I try to retreat to a quieter place, sometimes alone, sometimes with just the electronics shut off, computer excluded. Visions of me yelling “It’s alive!” play on my mental movie screen.
I have heard and read where others can write in Starbucks or other high traffic locations. I know there is no right way but I always learn about myself by learning from others. When an idea starts to grab you, when it becomes more that a spark, what works for you? How and where do you find your creative space? Is it an exterior thing or an interior thing? How formed is your idea before you thrash it out with others or does the conversation come first? Do you have your inner circle, like Mary Shelley, to share your imaginings with?
At least I can say that the December 2010 blizzard gave birth to this blog.
Have I created a monster?