Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing down the demons

Dawn. You can almost see the spirits, rising in the cloud.

This was another of those weekend writing retreats at Matsqui penitentiary.

The word 'penitentiary' -- a place for penitents to deal with their sins -- in other words, a place for showing regrets.

One of the most interesting aspects of this weekend's discussions was the nature of the issues facing writers, both the inmates and those of us who live outside the walls (are we 'outmates'?).

The number one demon facing all of us is the many-headed monster of doubt. I call it many-headed because it whispers to us in so many ways, telling us we have nothing to say, that our thoughts are far too mundane. How it tells us we should give it up, that it's pointless trying to put our feelings into words.

But that's where the strength of group enters the scene. We were able to remind each other that we do have things to say, and that we each have our own way of doing so.

So, those spirits rising out of the clouds -- were they malevolent? Probably not. Were they real? Absolutely.

But we dealt with them, harnessed them so we can carry on, after the group experience comes to an end.

And with that in mind, today is a day for using that harnessed strength and putting words to page again. Simply because that's what we do.

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