School children are required to learn their 3 R’s: Readin’, Ritin,’ and ‘Rithmetic. Why shouldn’t writers be required to learn their 3 S’s: Stillness, Silence and Solitude.
During the holidays, I ran around like crazy from one noisy place to another filled with crowds of people — shopping malls, supermarkets, the post office, parties. And when the New Year had come and gone, I was still running around like crazy, exchanging gifts, going to doctor’s appointments, mailing thank you notes, catching up on everything I had let slide during the Christmas rush. Somehow all the clamor, activities and social life had followed me through January, into February. And I wanted to get back to writing!
Why wasn’t I writing? What was stopping me?
Answer: All of the above.
One day this week, by sheer chance, I found myself sitting still, in my silent apartment — alone. I began to think about my book. I got up and went in search of my manuscript. No easy job, as I had stashed it somewhere to make room for the wrapping paper, greeting cards, presents, etc. Finally I found it tucked in the back of a desk drawer. I took it out and began to read. Miraculously the phone didn’t ring, the doorbell didn’t buzz, no one even slipped a menu under my door. If I listened, I could hear the refrigerator humming, the clock ticking, and the resident mouse pitter-patting from the cupboard to the stove.
Slowly the ideas began to flow. Gradually I stepped into that other world, the world that my characters inhabit, the setting that I had created out of whole cloth, the story I had imagined with no basis in fact. When I finished reading, I began to write…
When my husband called, many hours later, he said, “You’ve been writing.”
“How can you tell?”
“Your voice sounds far away, as if you were in another world.”
“You’re right,” I said. “I was.”
— Robin Hathaway