For a crazy moment my post title made me think of the kid’s TV show The Backyardigans … just we’re the Back Homeagains! No actually – it sounds crap ….
The Moutains were just what I needed. While heading off sick wasn’t the greatest start, nor spending all of Tuesday in bed recovering from the trip there, it did allow for time snuggled up in bed or by the fire with a book. While I didn’t redraft Light Years or The Stamford/Lea, and I didn’t read Finding Aphrodite (which in my fever addled haze I managed to pack!) or even turn my computer on until the last full day there and when I tried to put down one of the stories I had been carrying around in my head for weeks it came out crap…
It was inevitable – the reading and the thinking. Without the distraction of TV or the internet and once the sun had gone down, it was get lost in someone else’s thoughts or travel the windy path of my own. Being sick made me feel as though I was enmeshed in my thoughts, ones which were circular and not always pleasant, making reading a very necessary diversion. As I got better though I was able to take stock of where I had travelled as a writer in the last few years.
Our last trip to the Bunya Mountains was in August 2007. It was a few months after I had weaned Dylan (which was a topic in the forefront of my mind after writing two articles about it for Type A Mom the week before we went away) and I was just starting to find my feet again, ekking out some time and space for myself. Less than a month after we were there at Pitta Place, I made the decision, or should I say, the decision came onto me, that I would take the path of a writer, resolving years of indecision about “what to do next?”
I spent the few days back there in August 2007 scribbling in my journal. It had been my intention to take said journal with me to read over my musings, but the fever on the day we left didn’t allow for extended searches of my old diaries and journals, much less tracking down their actual location in the house. I do remember time and freedom being key themes.
This time around I was able to think about how far I had come since that August two years ago. About choosing to write, and what to write about. My battles with writing versus editing, non-fiction versus fiction. How my style has evolved, how I have become more adventurous in what I write and how I write. Thinking back on how obviously autobiographical my early work was, but how I’ve managed to move on and when I do write fact into fiction, it is far more subtle than it was.
I have had a short story published. I have entered my first competition. I have completed to NaNoWriMos successfully. I have returned to reading with a vengence. I am able to call myself a writer now without flinching or blushing. I am half way through the ambitious Chinese Whisperings Anthology with nine fellow writers. I am gathering confidence in my critiquing. My family accepts the fact I need to write – that no one’s life is agreeable if I am kept from doing this. I have kept up a regular ritual of morning pages for just over 18 months. I have completed The Artist’s Way three times and shared it with many others. I co-write with others. When I read On Writing again I wont want to curl up into a tiny ball and believe I am the world’s worst writer.
So much to celebrate!
In my weekly Write Anything column, live tomorrow, I list a whole heap of questions to strike up your productive nostaliga. I may be back tomorrow with a few answers to some of the questions – or I might just be productive nostaligia-ed out.