This weekend we had a long weekend, and I felt like spending it all holed up at home working on the novella. In the end, the kids were jumping up and down like jacks-in-the-box from being cooped up all the time, so I had to take them out.
However, I spent all the time we were out, bristling with impatience and yearning with the desire to get back home and continue writing!
And that made me ponder: isn’t it an irony that the more exciting the stories in our minds get, the more boring our OUTER life seems to become?
When we’re working on those most exciting moments on paper, we squirrel ourselves up in our homes and refuse to go out and live adventures in “real” life.
But, of course, the reason it’s possible to make up exciting adventures on paper at all, is precisely because we DO go out and live exciting adventures in real life. And thus find inspiration and things to actually TELL.
I suppose it’s always possible to tell exciting tales even if we never do anything exciting in real life. It’s not necessary, to be able to invent exciting events, to actually live them, thanks to the force of our IMAGINATION, which allows us to make up anything and everything that we want.
But the truth is, quite frankly, life IS more exciting and interesting when we actually DO live exciting events in real life.
I wonder if I had lived a boring life, and had never done anything worth talking about, would I still have all the frenetic ideas and inspiration that I do have to write stories with? I think I’ve gotten many ideas simply from things that I’ve actually LIVED and EXPERIENCED, and I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to receive these ideas if I hadn’t actually LIVED them.
When I was very young, I used to live a very boring, monotonous, mundane life. My life consisted only of predictable routine and more predictable routine. Nothing untoward ever happened. Everything in my life was carefully controlled, as if I lived in a hermetic bubble or in a laboratory environment, with all the factors and variables meticulously under control. (It’s hardly surprising that my parents were scientists who spent their whole lives stuffed behind the hermetic walls of a laboratory, where absolutely everything you could think of was controlled, even the amount of light or air allowed to enter!)
We never went out, and my parents and I spent all our days locked up at home. We didn’t go travelling, or even on day trips to the countryside or to visit a neighbouring village. My parents never went on holiday. We never went to the park, or boating, or swimming, or skiing or anything else that other people do.
The only excitement I ever enjoyed in my life was whatever I was able to invent in my head. In stories. And I thought that that, just with IMAGINATION alone, would be enough. I would be able to invent all the stories I would ever want or need. I thought that imagination in and of itself sufficed.
But I’m sure you can understand that when you live such an excruciatingly, extremely monotonous existence, where you even know just exactly at what minute your next meal would be served each day, or where you were going to go tomorrow (ie. nowhere), that someday the undeniable, irrepressible desire, the frenetic yearning, to get out and get away, would just have to explode.
You can’t keep people cooped up in cages like in a zoo or in a laboratory their whole lives! And much less children and young people, who have never lived anything yet or experienced anything in life yet.
So by hook or by crook I just HAD TO escape. In any way, shape or form.
And that’s when I really started living!
And once I started actually living, did I find that that occurrence had any positive influence on the writing I did, or on the stories I was able to make up?
As I LIVED life, for real, all sorts of things happened to me that I would never ever ever have even fathomed or dreamt of. Things that it would never have occurred to me to invent in a story, not even in a thousand years.
So, in the end, do I believe that it’s necessary to actually live life, to be able to write stories about life? Well, yes and no.
I do still maintain that, up to a certain extent, you can do most anything with just your imagination.
But I can assure you, your writing and your stories would become about a hundred times richer, more varied and full of exciting events, if you actually live things and experience things for yourself.
Life will probably throw curveballs at you that you would never ever ever have dreamt of, but that will serve you well in your stories.
And as usual, since you know I’m not just writing a blog for the sake of writing a blog, you know I’m going to end by simply exhorting you to buy my stories, so many of which, as I mention in this post, are based on real life. You can do so here: