the .moon's. quiet. daughter

h.o.m.e ............s.a.r.a.h...e.l.w.e.l.l ............ e.l.s.e.w.h.e.r.e .............s.e.e.d.s...&...s.t.a.r.s ............d r e a m i n g...t.a.l.e.s

July 13, 2017

station eleven


In the green light of an early winter morning, I sit wrangling stories. This is the hardest part of writing, at least for me. Putting the words down is relatively easy. But turning inspiration, wishing, wondering, into a plot-safe tale drives me quite batty.

It may be why I so often end up writing short stories (or even shorter poems). There's nothing like the requirements of logic and narrative to dampen my creativity. Which is unfortunate since I love clever plots, interwoven threads, layering and echoing, in the books that I read.

This past fortnight I've read Station Eleven twice, and gone back a third and fourth time to scenes that I especially love. It's not a perfect book, and I know if I think too closely about it I'll become dissatisfied - mainly, I could have used more to the scenes and character development. Despite that, and despite having spent the previous month on a Connie Willis binge, I'd have to say Station Eleven is my favourite book of the year so far. It has to be, for it haunts me. I have found myself repeatedly looking at life through its lens. I have struggled against poignancy.

I feel a little like the book's heart has sung directly to my heart. This, and moments like Oberon circling Titania ... the plane sealed on the runway ... Miranda on the beach ... have made a ruin of my own story composition plans, and left me scrounging for something better from my own brain than what I intended to write after the Deep In The Far Away revision was finished.

What I tell novice writers to do to improve their work is what I believe even the most experienced writers do : read good books, and pay attention to how they catch you. Station Eleven caught me with its illustrations of humanity, far more than its elegiac vision of modern civilisation or its interwoven plot. And so I am reminded, as I wrangle narrative threads into something making sense, that cleverness is all very fine, but mostly we read to see our own hearts written down.


  1. yes, i love that phrase: "mostly we read to see our own hearts written down"... :)

  2. Oh, yes, everything you said.
    I am in the midst of Station Eleven right now. ♥

  3. So, I have Station Eleven sitting here, checked out from the public library for the third or fourth time. And now you're probably thinking, "ooo, she must really like it!! Yay!!" Except ... not really. I mean, I don't know if I do or not. I've tried this many times to get started on it! It hasn't ever grabbed me, but maybe this weekend it will! (I keep getting distracted by amazing nonfiction. Will finish off my current one today).

    1. Well, I couldn't get into it the first time I got it from the library. Only seeing how many people liked it convinced me to try again. And its odd, I can't say that I love it, only that it haunts me, something about it touched me, and I don't even know what.

  4. I have read station eleven a few times because I love distopian stories and it gives you a different angle on what is important in life when you don't have anything and how people cope with it and what gets them through