A dark and stormy night is the perfect night for a writer…

It’s raining today… with lightning and thunder and the whole band, playing up a grand cacophany. It really puts me in the mood to write. It’s just so dramatic. The air is taught, fired up by the electrical difference between the sky and the ground, and everyone feels that tremor of excitement and drama when the static sparkle of white light quietly zings across that blazing evening sky. I think the gothic in me is crying out: “write something! write something apocalyptic and insane and creepy and mysterious and something that shakes the imaginative mind as much as the rattle of thunder rumbles for attention!” When the atmosphere’s all set up like this, I feel like writing. Goodness knows, the next day, when I wake up and read what I’ve written the night before, I’ll laugh my head off and think, “What a drama queen I am! What a somber and inexperienced attempt at writing something that was supposed to be magnificent! What happened to your humbleness, that you dare write this dross?” Thrown under the pale light of day, all the midnight madness seems just that… madness. But, for the moment, my fingers are twitching…

Before I get to it, I just want to post a little something that I read recently: Waters Luminous & Deep by Meredith Ann Pierce.

I sometimes enjoy a good short story. Especially, if I don’t have time to get too immersed in a long novel. We’ve all got other work to do, chores that are piling up and other, silly things of this world we must attend to.  A short story is good to appease that craving momentarily. The only problem is, I’ve lately only had time to read before I go to bed, so those obscure and strange short stories keep me awake and wondering rather than asleep and dreaming. But, those are the risks of reading a good book!

Waters Luminous and Deep by Meredith Ann Pierce is a collection of reflective, roiling tales, some of them written when she was as young as 14 years old! In fact, my favorite tale in this little collection is Rafiddilee, a story about a dwarfish little man with a charming face and an entertainer’s skill, that she wrote at that age. That story made me feel so sad for Rafiddilee. Or at least, the image of little Rafiddilee, prancing along the castle ramparts, with his innocent character and his loyalty to those who loved him, stayed with me. I was really captured by the story, and long after I put the book down for the night, the feeling lingered.

I rarely come across a collection of short stories in which I quite enjoyed every single story, but this collection had very choice tales. Meredith Ann Pierce also included little blurbs before each story, telling of why she wrote a story, how the story moved and affected her life and her pursuit of writing as a career, which was very very interesting. After writing Rafiddilee, she wrote that she knew she was going to be a writer. That was her turning point.

It makes me think about my own need to write. I’m still very inexperienced at the process of writing, though I’ve been scribbling and tapping away since I was very very young. I’ve never finished a  novel (though I did, under the pressure of school projects, finish short stories). I have a feeling it’s because of my air-headed fickleness. I’m that person who wants to try everything but never sticks to one thing. It takes a lot of stubbornness to see a long (and even a short) story through. I have no trouble coming up with a plot that inspires me to write, but once things get busy outside of the imaginative world,  I put it aside and, like old food, it starts looking moldy and loses shape. The stories are still there, but I’ve got to really really work at it, and force myself to do it.

Anyway, I’m blabbering off again. Oo, that thunder! That pattering on the roof! Those eerie reflections in the mirror – that tappity-tap of the old tree. Where’s that long mournful howl coming from? The neighborhood watchdog…I think. My oh my, I’m really lacking in focus today.

Zooming back to the book. I’ve read other works by M.A. Pierce, such as Darkangel which was a really moody book. I mean that in a good way. She’s good at setting the mood for her stories, and making the prose flow, because there isn’t very much dialogue compared to just huge chunks of self-reflective observations. But, the characters are so clearly captured, their greed, their desires, their loneliness. Icerose was a story she wrote on the spur of the moment, under the influence of that unpredictable creative energy that sometimes skips merrily through our veins. It’s a story about two companions and their search to thaw the Icerose, which had been encased in ice by a witch. When the spell that has caught the Icerose is broken, summer will return to the cold winterlands. Meredith Ann Pierce wrote the story all in one go. And the story really moves and sweeps your imagination along. It’s the traditional quest story. I’ve been steadily avoiding epics for a while, but this has re-stirred that old feeling. Everyone needs a good questing once in a while.

So, off I go to enjoy this lovely rowdy evening with the elementals banging on the roof and windows. yikes

I seriously, just jumped in my seat a moment after typing that when some trumpeting beast blared across the water. Yikes! After all these years, one should never underestimate the power of nature to scare oneself to pieces. What inspires you to write or to imagine crazier characters and stories than usual?

Rating: 4/5 Watery Stories

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5 thoughts on “A dark and stormy night is the perfect night for a writer…

  1. I like to read short stories once in a while, but I really prefer to immerse myself in a good, long novel; It gives us more time to learn about the characters, and the plot can thicken, twist, and turn more freely.

  2. It’s interesting to see you think about your own writing, which I think you do very well, by the way. So often I just let the words flow from my fingertips rather like a stream of consciousness. The author’s name caught me because Meredith is one of my own. 😉

  3. Allegra – I’m not always in the mood for short stories, but, lately I’ve been so busy that I’ve had to turn to them in order to fill my daily literary needs. Normally, I prefer indulging in a longer piece of work, but, my mind’s all over the place now-a-days, what with half my reading hours now dedicated to my biochemistry course, so, at the risk of losing track of what I was reading about and end up not enjoying something, I turn to short stories!

    Bellezza – Thank you! When I blog, I tend to just let loose on words, and slam a combination of words or ideas together that wouldn’t normally make sense. I do like reading stream of consciousness, especially when its a book review, because it honestly shows the blogger’s impressions of the book, off the bat. I think Meredith Ann Pierce normally writes a lot of fantasy stuff, but do check her out if you are interested!

  4. When I’m stressed out and I can’t physically get away from whatever’s stressing me out, I start inventing really dysfunctional characters and plot ideas. Looking through my Moleskin, I can always tell which ideas I had during long screamy staff meetings and which ones I had while people-watching in London coffee shops. 😛

  5. Jenny – haha! It’s those moments that end up getting you to write more interestingly random stuff! I like to people watch while I commute too, and invent strange and mysterious stories for that woman with the tired but happy face, or that old man with angry frown lines running down his mouth. It passes the time.

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