Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Rerun: Lighting the Fuse

Post by Jenny

Last year, I spent the Fourth of July at a family reunion in Topeka, Kansas. Say what you will about eastern Kansas in July, but it’s a firework lover’s paradise. As far as I can tell, everything is legal. My sons went to the firework stands with their (much older) cousins and came back with enormous smiles and pyrotechnics the size of car batteries. Like shoes and cars, fireworks have names, and these ranged from the regionally appropriate (“Topeka Twister”) to the unimaginative (“Wow!”) to the inexplicable (“Who’s Yo Daddy?”).

A steady rain fell all day on the Fourth, but at sunset, the firework gods smiled on us, and the clouds parted. My family and I walked to the neighborhood park, where two of the more responsible adults among us set about burning up the equivalent of a month’s worth of grocery money.

There’s something special about the moment a fuse ignites. I love not knowing exactly what will happen. Will it bring a sparkling shower of multicolored light or a series of banshee shrieks? Will it be a bright, intense burn or a softer, more gradual glow? And what might a “Who’s Yo Daddy?” look like?

The phrase “light a fuse” means to get something started, to awaken, to excite. I realized as I watched the fireworks that I have not felt that crackling-fuse energy in my writing for a while now. I’ve been in turtle mode—working at a slow, steady pace, doing what needs to be done…and not having much fun in the process. It’s been a long time since I had a day when I was either sitting at my computer writing or counting the minutes until I could get back to it.

Fortunately, there is a cure for my lack of spark, one so obvious you’ve probably already identified it: write. Anything. It doesn’t have to be the world’s next great novel. I don’t have to know the end result before I begin. All I need to do is put a match to the writing fuse and see what happens. I can even revisit something that’s been resting for a while. Unlike old fireworks, old projects often retain a great deal of energy just waiting to be rekindled. And if I am completely stuck, I can turn to the internet for hundreds of writing prompts and other assorted inspirations.

Does your writing ever lose its spark? How do you get it back?


Patricia Stoltey said...

I've had no spark since early April. Jenny. I was about 20,000 words into the April Camp NaNoWriMo and lost it. I've signed back up for the July Camp and entered the cabin with a few local women writers I know. I'm hoping we can light a collective spark that makes us very productive.

Jenny said...

I hope you get it back, Pat! Sounds like you're moving in the right direction.

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