July 26, 2012

Guest blogger- Lorne Oliver

The Body Fuels the Mind
I have this bad habit of avoiding yard work and household chores by having to write. “No, no, I can’t mow the lawn.  I have to write.”…”I would love to help you weed the garden, but I’m almost done writing chapter ten.”  And then I sit there staring at the same sentence without having any clue where to take the story.  It goes nowhere. The lawn doesn’t get mowed.  The garden doesn’t get weeded.  And I don’t write.
Man, maybe I should go mow the lawn, weed the garden, paint the garage, take the dogs for a walk, do laundry, wash dishes, clean the cat litter, mop, go shopping, place chore here…but I can’t.  I have to be sitting here looking at the last words of the last sentence I wrote last Tuesday because the muse is about to pop up and the book will write itself.
Then day becomes evening, evening becomes night, night day, and still that damn cursor sits there flashing like your whole entire life is paused.  But it’s not.  The grass grows, the weeds overtake the vegetables, the dirty plates pile up, the dog pisses on the couch – you get the point.
Eventually I kick myself in the ass and get to doing something other than staring blankly at nothing.  Five minutes into doing something I remember back when I was a kid wanting to be this well-known writer.  I wrote and forgot more stories than I care to count while circling my parent’s lawn on the riding mower. 
I don’t know if the quote is from somewhere else, but I love books/movies/tv shows about writers so I will give Norman McLean who wrote A River Runs Through It all the credit.  “The body fuels the mind.”  Excellent book.  Excellent movie.  The body fuels the mind.  If you are blocked in your writing…get up.  Go do something.  Your fingers, the keyboard keys, your pen does not write the story.  Your brain writes the story.  Lucky for you it counts as carryon.
Do something.  Doing a job, any job, that doesn’t really take much brain power can sometimes let your creative side focus.  Just the other day I wrote two blogs in my head while weeding the garden.  I had to take a break to go get my notebook and jot down some notes.  My cardinal rule since I was twelve or so was to always carry a notebook and pen because you never know when inspiration will hit you.  The next time I go out I will have it with me.
A lot, A LOT, of Red Island was written while working the evening shift at the Urban Eatery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  I volunteered to work the evening pizza shift in the hopes that it would be slow and I could stand leaning against the door frame to the back prep room with my notebook resting on my hand and my pan in the other.  I wrote many pages in between making the most excellent thin crust pizzas.  The pizza fueled the body, but the body fueled the mind.

Lorne Oliver's Blog:  http://redislandnovel.blogspot.ca