Friday, October 14, 2005

Castaways

Sitting in the dark, writing blind -- you're not with me, but the words are. I chase and catch them like fireflies, to put in my story bottles and toss them into the millions of oceans between us.

Do they reach you, those shimmering bottles that I've made? Sometimes you call out to tell me that you've found them. Do they push back some of the night? Or do you smash them, or let them float away? I'll never know. Only you know if you gather up my bottles in your arms, or stand and watch the tide take them back. Only you see if the dark sands of your shorelines are brightened for a few hours, or littered with useless shards.

We strand ourselves on these islands deliberately, don't we? It's the only way to hunt the elusive light -- alone, silent, in the dark. All this effort for a Crusoe existence, one we often think we would happily trade for a boatload of pearls. Only without the light, pearls become stones, and the boat flounders.

Being here is simple and beautiful, the way life on an island almost always is. We are lonely, but we listen for the voices calling across the waves, and watch what the tide sweeps in. Sometimes we find worn bits of bottles long ago ruined and discarded, still glowing with a little of the color and light they once possessed. We collect those lost gems, worthless to everyone but us.

Storms come, unexpected and ferocious, from any and all directions, as if determined to put out all the light. We ride them out, afraid, hopeful, terrified, defiant. We promise ourselves that the light will return when the wind stops howling and the waves calm. If we're fortunate, another storm won't come until we've picked up and put ourselves back in order. If we're not, we ride the next one, and if enough keep rolling in, we learn to look through the eyes of the storm for the light.

Tomorrow is almost here. You won't be with us, but the words will. We will chase them and catch them in our story bottles, and throw that captured light into the dark unknown. Then we will listen for your voices, and watch the tides as we touch the long strands of sea glass that we wear, our only jewels, our precious talismans.

14 comments:

  1. what a beautiful metaphor for writing....

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  2. That was quite lovely.

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  3. zornhau7:51 AM

    I have a Dark Tower for my writing rather than an island. I dream of oen day casting my spells at the horizon...

    But yes, you brightened my day.
    Z

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  4. That was gorgeous. Thanks for posting it.

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  5. What a beautiful post to begin the day. Thanks, PBW.

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  6. May the oceans always be stormy, and may our bottles never sink.

    Cheers.

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  7. An elegant metaphor.

    I don't know if there's much more to say than that.

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  8. It made me teary. That's beautiful, Sheila. :)

    Linda

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  9. Kaelle4:34 PM

    Wow, this is so lyrical, beautiful. It feels like a poem to me, or a song with some tweaking.

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  10. Words just can't express...

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  11. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Now THAT'S writing.

    cherylp

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  12. This is outstanding. Thank you. I'm going to put a link on my blog. This is just what I needed to read today.

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  13. Thank you, that post really helped me.

    So far I've never experienced a total block since I started writing in 2001. Slow times, yes, times when I went in the wrong direction, yes (SF isn't my genre, lol) but I've always written some, or at least done research, outlined etc. Not so those last five weeks. I read a lot, but didn't work on my NiPs except the required edits for my anthology story.

    I faced a storm but failed to see storms are part of our life. I scolded myself for not writing which made things worse. But I had to ride out that storm and watch the dark clouds chasing over me instead of writing. I now understand it was a normal reaction.

    The storm has passed and left behind an empty void only memories can fill.

    The sun is shining outside, sparkling in the cobwebs studded with jewels of dew, brightening the red and yellow leaves of the trees. A light I'll try to catch.

    An idea for a scene: Talorcan, warrior and hunter of the Selgovian tribe, lets escape a deer, moved by the beauty of a perfect autumn day.

    It will probably not make it into the final version, but I feel it will get me back into writing.

    Thank you.

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  14. Gabriele wrote: "It will probably not make it into the final version, but I feel it will get me back into writing."

    And, really, that makes it one of the more important scenes you can write-- the scene that primes your pump and brings back your writing. Be it a trickle or a gusher, may it sustain you.

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