Shreds of Thought: Aphrodites Flown

The part of me interested in social media, marketing and metrics is very different to the part through which the prose flows. If I hold off looking at these things for the first hour after waking, and instead allow my still dreaming mind to externalise, I make a very different experience of the day. And – bonus – I have something like 777 useable words down before it even really starts.

See, the muse doesn’t care for social acceptance, book sales or writing advice. She doesn’t even care for thoughts, because she is a beast of intuition that merely plays with our language centre as though is were a harp.

If the prose isn’t flowing, the sure ways to attract it (for me, at least) are:

  1. Run a bubble bath hot enough to forget the world outside the door. And don’t take a notepad.
  2. Take a drive that will last at least an hour, and listen to music. Anything will do.
  3. Meditate.

Ray Bradbury described the muse as being like a cat that will resist attention and then follow on quietly as you walk away. I like that, because cats also like to scratch at an occupied bathroom door, climb into cars, and climb upon the stillest, most relaxed person in the room.*

The muse has no sense of completion. There is no beginning and there is no end. She will offer up ideas that have no obvious connection to one another, or tell a story in a nonsensical order. But I find if I don’t follow her natural trajectory, and instead force a story into a mould, I’ll end up with something substandard. I’ll produce works that feel mechanical and without heart.

If I have ideas as to how I might later sculpt her secrets, I must keep them on the peripheries until she’s curled up sleeping. That way, by the time it’s done, she’ll no longer care about those particular whispers. Her passion for them was spent by the very act of me listening without judgement, and she’ll have moved onto a new whim. Strangely, the pieces produced when I’m all ears are the ones that need very little in the way of editing.

I have many blog posts, flash fiction pieces, short stories – hell, even novel outlines – that never got past the concept phase. Scraps of prose, fragments of awareness, semi-conscious notions. They are evidence of the times I dared to turn my head away from the muse before she was done with me: betraying her with thought. The time for those pieces has now passed. I won’t hear those secrets again. Just like poems, they have expired.

Sometimes I wonder, could I revive them? But they’d be nothing more than shells, their Aphrodites long flown.

*If you’re not a cat person, consider that your muse might be a dog. You put a leash around her, set off along the path you chose. But, to the ground she wants to sniff, you will always go.

Additional ways to attract the prose that occurred to me post-script, as a direct result of the script:

4. Write a stream of consciousness.
5. Read poetry aloud.

Fragments of C.R. Dudley: An Interview

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Until fairly recently this blog was anonymous, and now here I am inviting your questions! The encouragement I’ve received here on WordPress has been instrumental to me publishing Fragments of Perception, so I thought perhaps it was time to open the doors a little more. Apologies in advance for the length of some of my answers; I’m not so good at small talk…

Continue reading “Fragments of C.R. Dudley: An Interview”

500

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August might have been my worst month yet in terms of writing new blog posts, but on the 27th – my birthday – I woke up to the good news that 500 of you now follow Orchid’s Lantern. I am honoured to know so many people are enjoying my little stories, articles and book reviews; thank you!

Fragments of Perception and Other Stories is now in the safe hands of a few trusty beta readers, the cover is out for design, and all being well it will be published in early November in paperback and ebook. I have some work to do with my website next: I’m going to attempt to move over to my own domain. Hopefully this won’t cause any disruption on WordPress but I’ve never done this before…

Apart from that, I am looking forward to continuing work on The Enlightenment Machine, and what I am now referring to as its prequel, The Tale of Dr Hertz. I also have outlines for two non fiction books, but I’m not sure where they’re going to fit into the schedule yet. Despite all of this, I do now have time to start blogging properly again, so you can expect brand new stories to start arriving in your inbox again very shortly.

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You can now follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on my progress and inspirations. I’d love to see you there!

The Gardener

Orchids Lantern, thoughts of a writer

Ideas grow in the mind organically, like flowers in a garden. Now and then a gardener comes along to sprinkle some water and tear out the weeds, and we are grateful that the more exuberant species can thrive once more. Sometimes the gardener cuts the heads off the fullest of rosy ideas, and though we mourn them for a time we know that he only does so in order that more will flourish.

But sometimes the gardener does the strangest thing: he takes the best of all the different kinds of flowers – picks them right out at the root – and puts them together in a vase until they die. He draws pleasure from this act, as though he were honouring his produce in allowing it to fulfil its purpose. As though declaring them beautiful and arranging them in his preferred manner makes them more valid. Those flowers, those ideas, are complete. In their final configuration they are the best they will ever be, and the gardener prides himself on capturing that moment. Because he knows, I suppose, that more will grow.

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The key to raising orchids lies in their roots. We need to understand what makes them different to help them to grow in a potted environment.”

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You can now follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on my writing projects and inspirations.