Narrative Disorder Redux

The flattened boxes and packing material have finally been taken away, and everything except my desk, which was damaged and is being repaired and refinished, is in its new place, so I guess ‘I’m still settling in’ can no longer excuse a lack of blog posts. I find myself in the midst of a problem, though – about what should I blog?
The plan was to do our best to treat Sydney as though it were Japan and continue to travel, playing tourist in our own land, and continue to blog about life as an ex-pat wife, hopefully hitting on the odd issue that could be helpful to someone. It seemed a good plan; we lived here for 18months before we moved to Japan and it was, indeed, like moving to a foreign country (I genuinely found Japan easier), so clearly there were difficulties worth addressing. Now that we’re here, however, the cost of living prevents us from being able to travel as we did in Japan, so travel and photography will be limited to the, not unattractive, metropolitan area. What is more, in the few months we’ve been here, I’ve found solutions to the main problems we had living here last time and, while I will eventually write those posts, there really aren’t that many ways to say “Have lots of money” and “Don’t live in The Shire”.

Nevertheless, life is not lacking excitement, even if it is the kind of excitement which only that percentage of the population which identifies as ‘writers’ (and possibly musicians and other creatives) would define as such. Perhaps it’s the lack of beautiful architecture luring me from my desk, and/or the removal of the constant, low-grade stress of living in a land in which you do not speak the language, but my narrative disorder has returned with a force I have not experienced for many years, perhaps even since high school. Characters are tramping through my head all night, scenes are playing like movies in my mind’s eye, often from the moment I wake. When sitting down to write each weekday, my only creative angst derives from trying to unravel the big ball of scenes which seems to have replaced my brain. It’s bliss!

All that is not to say that it’s easy. No matter how quickly or slowly scenes come to mind, rarely do they come in order, and, despite the phrasing sometimes used to describe the process, nothing actually writes itself. What is different at the moment is that the scenes come so fast that it’s all I can do to get them down, and there is simply no time for self-doubt. For years, I’ve understood intellectually the theory that you have to take off your editor’s hat while writing your first draft. I’ve repeated the advice as mantras: “You can’t edit what you haven’t written”; “If it’s worth doing well, it’s worth doing badly till you learn”, trying to convince myself not to second-guess as I go, but I’ve never before managed to achieve it. I’d like to think that I’ve reached some kind of personal and professional turning point, that this new state is the result of my continual practice and study of the craft, and that it will be, if not permanent, at least something I can call upon at will, but I daren’t tempt the Gods by assuming such a thing.

And so, the answer to my original question becomes clear: the blog will return to its original subject – my Adventures in Wordcraft (I wonder if I still have any readers from when the blog was called that?) Whether this blissful state is permanent or not, I’ll be doing everything I can to nurture it and, while I probably won’t share my actual writing with you here, I will do my best to share anything that helps me to keep this state going. Off the top of my head, I can imagine posts might include: reviews of books on writing; alerts to a writer/agent/publisher whose blog or tweets I find inspiring; recommendations of tech that make reading or research easier; reviews of fountain pens and inks I use to slow down and create less frantically; or even a recipe for some comfort food to soothe a ragged, creative soul.

To those of you who came to this blog because it was about Japan, I want to say thank you for reading these past eighteen months, I hope I was able to help your own Japanese experiences in some small way. I have a few posts on Japan left in me, but only a few. Many of you are also writers and I hope you’ll stick around to see where this goes, but I won’t be surprised or upset if I see my subscriptions and views dropping substantially – it’s quite a ride, the whole ex-pat jBlogger thing, even from the sidelines where I’ve been hanging out!

Of course, the most important way to nurture the muse is to answer its call to write, so chances are there will be awfully long gaps between posts, but I imagine only family, friends and writers will be watching for Narrative Disorder to go bold on their feed readers, so I’m sure I’ll be forgiven.

From my desk to yours, happy writing!!

The low tech desk

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