Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Hibernation and Other Writing Stories

Bears, I often think, are the luckiest of winter creatures. Oh! how much I should like to live my creative life as if I were the writer bear of my dreams.

Come October, having led a full and satisfying summer life of writing good prose and gorging my imagination on human sights and sounds and overheard snippets of conversation, I should settle down to rest, fat and full, wrapped in warm blankets of fur. In my dark and cosy den, the world would pass me by as I slept, dreaming of the plots of novels, intricate and intriguing page turners. As the cold and frost began to bite, my now-pregnant imagination would keep me warm, walking in otherwhere fields with mythical monsters, talking with Muses, skimming through the fascinating lives of new and never-before-seen characters. My unconscious mind would be a Dagda's cauldron of invention, bubbling and boiling with an ever-renewing and nourishing brew of Idea. Then, about March, I should begin to wake, having given birth to a litter of new writing projects. They would be demanding, of course, each distinct and different in their wants and needs. But each would also be full of possibility, growing each day a little more towards maturity. Soon they would emerge onto paper, small black potent words gambolling and basking in the hot light of another writing summer, sparking an abundance of signed contracts, co-editions, editorial enthusiasm and courting. And so, eventually, the writing bear's wheel would come full circle, and the cycle begin again.

Failing this delightful scenario, an afternoon nap is a sovereign remedy for almost all winter ills. And that's my Wisdom for the Day: If you can't be a bear, take a nap. Trust me. It does wonders for the writing mind.


Mary Hoffman said...

What a lovely idea! I'm all for bears, who look so cuddly and are so lethal. And the Dagda has always been my favourite deity (you don't get an equivalent for him in any other pantheon, do you?)

And I am a great believer in the restorative siesta so am half-way to being a bear myself. Perhaps a reverse bear - fierce on outside and cuddly inside. Or is that Robin McKinley?

Lucy Coats said...

Well, I suppose the Dagda, being the AllFather, is a Celtic version of Zeus/Jupiter. It's interesting that in some stories he is benevolent and in some he is uncouth and badly behaved. But I've always thought that that cauldron of his would be dead useful.

A reverse bear. Hmmmn. I shall have to consider. But I think you are right about R McK, even though I suspect she would deny it vehemently.

Mary Hoffman said...

Yes but they are not by and large hospitality gods or life-giving ones.

I think Tolkien was thinking of the Dagda when he wrote Tom Bombadil, even though he got it embarrassingly wrong.

And I still think of Nuada or Lugh as the boss.So more like Zeus/Jupiter or Odin/Woden.

Lucy Coats said...

True, though perhaps just a little overenthusiastic in the giving-life sense of fathering many demi-gods on willing or unwilling women.

Tom Bombadil, o Tom Bombadillo. Are you one who is teeth-grindingly annoyed by him? I don't think he fits at all well into the book, being a kind of aside to the real plot, but I wouldn't be without him, nor without that barrow wight scene, which creeps my soul every time I read it.

I suppose Nuada or Lugh are the battle bosses, and the head striders over the earth, since they are corporeal and present. But ever since reading Pat O Shea's wonderful The Hounds of the Morrigan, I can't think of the Dagda as anything but the overall boss of everything.

Mary Hoffman said...

Yes, I find TB maddening now, as so much of LOTR but I adored it aged nine and ten and read and re-read them every year and didn't mind him then. Peter J quite right to leave him out of the films.

I agree about the barrow-wights. Brilliant scene.

Haven't read Hounds of the Morrigan - should I? But I like the idea of the Dagda as boss - it would be GOOD if the main man were life-giving and hospitable. Magari, as the Italians say

Lucy Coats said...

I shall send you some info on Hounds of the Morrigan separately. A must-read....

bookchildworld said...

YES - read Hounds of the Morrigan!

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