Don't play misty for me

I was pleased to hear Neil Gaiman talking recently on the difficulties of being creative. He likened finding a narrative to walking through mist. This is very similar to my own experience. I am ever envious of writers, who claim to love a ‘blank page’ or the chance to find out what their characters are going to do next. In my own personal experience I bumble around in fog that would have struck fear into the stout heart of Rupert the Bear. Words come to me through the fog. I hear them, catch sight of their shadows, listen to their echoes. Often I have no inkling how they fit in the narrative or if I’m being led astray by a kind of creative willow the wisp.

It is possible for me to wander days in this mist searching for the story-line. I think three weeks was my all time low, and when I finally emerged, damp and very frustrated, it was with the single word, ‘sunrise’ in my mind.

It isn’t a comfortable or pleasant place to wander, this mist. So why do I do it you ask? Because the words I find are beautiful and perfect, and tantalizing and addictive. And each one fits like an infinitesimal piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle until finally I have it in front of me, the story that no-one else saw because very few of us like to spend time lost in the mist. Hey ho, time to get my scarf and check trousers on.

L. M. Affrossman