Presents of Mind

On good days the Muse brings me "presents" for my writer's mind to play with. But those days are rare.

Fiction Writer as Broken Navigator

I’ll keep this post mercifully short today because of the density of the topic. No need to make you suffer more than you already do. I just want to say that maybe you can relate: I suffer from chronic restless mind syndrome. Everything in my life is a scrap of something else, and all the scraps are constantly moving about. I live a peripatetic existence. Put another way, I don’t know what continuity means, so I don’t do well with routine or employment or commitment. I loaf and drift and chafe at the thought of some kind of life-long yoke or habit, which includes fiction writing practice. Partly because I suffer from crippling anxiety and partly navigatorbecause I’m utterly lost in a world that is not of my making or doing. Adorno said that the finished work is, in our times and climate of anguish, a lie.

I would add that it’s also a climate of hyper self-absorption, a mass culture of empty screen zombies. We encase ourselves in our houses, or cars, our rarified cafes. The urge is to huddle together and be like everyone else, despite the private, incessant urge to be different. I write this knowing that everyone is an individual, and I’m not saying you do any of these things. I’m saying that the climate as a whole encourages these things. It has fostered a destructive meme that says to think for oneself is to flirt with insanity. I’m not saying you don’t think for yourself nor am I saying you are flirting with insanity.

All the same, I’m convinced that we need to scrap our former definitions of sanity. I’m also convinced that the world of psychiatry is irrevocably corrupt and broken. Let’s be honest. Our old reality is, in a word, finished. Nostalgia is so overrated. And yet. Who doesn’t dream of going home? I mean home in the Rilkean sense. I mean home in the sense of remembering what we’ve all forgotten, but which has never really left us.

So. How does a fiction writer navigate her craft with integrity in such a climate of unrelenting upheaval, uncertainty, and loss? I find this to be quite a profound question, worthy of much reflection and discussion.



2 comments on “Fiction Writer as Broken Navigator

  1. Catrina Sophia
    May 3, 2014

    I totally get you. You’ll find that there are not many willing to have such an honest debate. Because really what we would be accepting is that our outer journey is a constant pull on the inner journey. The inner journey is really the one that we constantly abandon. But it is probably the one we should collectively trying to integrate into the outer facades that we create.

    Anyway, I think your post is spot on.

    Stay True

    Catrina Sophia x

    • inkandpages
      May 4, 2014

      It’s difficult enough to make sense of the substance of our lives, let alone have an honest debate about it. I’m not even sure there’s a difference between the “inner” and “outer” journeys, and even less so any ability to “collectively” integrate them.

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This entry was posted on May 3, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , , .

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