Today when I was reading Julian Cameron’s book the Artist’s Way she said, “Creating is oxygen for our souls.” When I read that line, it stopped me dead in my tracks because for me it perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a writer. When I was working on my novel Beauty Beneath the Banyan (BBTB), for the first time in my life, I knew, and I FELT, I was doing what I was put on this Earth to do. I was my best self.
By my best self I mean…I looked at the world differently—I actually saw it. For example, one day when I went out for a run, a leaf lying in the middle of a mud puddle demanded my attention. Rather than ‘get on’ with the run and it wasn’t that I was employing any delay tactics (I know…hard to believe); I just stood there for the longest time memorized by beauty of this leaf. But, it was more than the vibrant yellow and bold red colours in that maple leaf. I was seeing the details in depth—red running through the leaf’s veins like blood and yellow waves gently rolling into red.
Another day during my BBTB creative period, when I was driving down a country road, I found myself slowing down to admire cotton ball clouds hovering so close to the tree tops it looked like the trees were spitting them out. These are only two small examples of how the way I perceived the world changed. My entire navigation processed changed. When I’m in my writing groove every sense is sharpened so the beauty of my surroundings calls out to me--LOOK! LOOK! and, I do. Writing slows me down and puts me in the moment and I am grateful for this; otherwise I’m running down the road with a cramp, oblivious to the small picturesque hues of Fall that may be found floating in a puddle.
Writing also stimulates every corner of my mind as I get to research issues, institutions, history, places and cultures I don’t know a lot about. Aaaaahhhh, I love it when my mind grows. One of my favourite corners to reach into is my imagination. There is such joy living in your imagination—where you have the freedom to create characters and worlds where there are no boundaries. I am very comfortable here and thrive on the challenge of trying to iron out a little hiccup in a story plot line. Writing makes me very happy. I am my best self.
Now, I’m not saying when I was writing BBTB that every day in my imagination was ‘perfect’ there were days that I couldn’t pull the words from my head and I wanted to flush my head down the toilet. But overall, when I was writing I felt free and alive—this is why Cameron’s words struck me so hard today. “Creating is oxygen for our souls,” it certainly was for me.
Years a go when I ventured back into an office my imagination took a back seat and the cobwebs grew in the corners of my mind. It’s been a bit of a battle sweeping those cobwebs out; but it’s been worth every swipe because I am out of the office and working from home—yeah! My new path finds me paving my way back to writing as a freelancer (and novels) because when I write, I am my best self. When I write, I have my oxygen back.
Activist, World traveller. Fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.