And now begins the brambled time as I work to get my latest little project ready before midsummer. I am tangled in dragon bones, forest-shed, secrets, long white swan feathers, tarnished gold. I am writing, writing, not writing, wishing that I was writing, writing some more, thinking about writing, writing, worrying, and now blogging about writing ... I am wondering if there is a snake or just silence at the heart of one story, and whether the gate will open for another ... I am scouring photographs and consulting the wind.
This is a difficult time, but good even so - better, certainly, than at the beginning of a project, when all I have are a few words and an uncertain wish for how they should go. But I find myself longing to take the book into some forest, or way over hills, and bring it home smelling of pine needles, dirtied with webs and roots, tumbled through with tree-scrap and grasses and the texture of summer winds.
Unfortunately, there isn't much true wildness around here. There is no way away. But at least I can go down to the watery edges, and I can go onto the back doorstep, in the darkness of the deep night. Everything becomes wild and distant then, and the sky sings of places far beyond.
Writers talk often about giving their work a final polish before publication. For me, though, I like a dirtying. Some of my older stories were too clean. These days, I want to smell smoke in them, and feel grit when I run my hands over the shape of them. I feel like I've never quite finished a story until I've given it to the earth, the sky, and what I get back is the final version.
(It's always uncomfortable writing here about writing. But I love reading such things from other storytellers, and I appreciate what they share. So today I've taken courage by the horns and am riding it, with apologies if it comes out wrong.)