Sometimes a high-in-the-sky view can be overrated.
Today my building is wreathed with clouds and rain; yesterday the wind was howling persistently through my windows. I can’t see the ground.
It all got me to thinking about being high above things, as vs down and dirty in amongst them.
It’s easy, as a writer, to step back from life and observe. Fun to watch and note and “see without being seen” as my kids’ favorite game Scotland Yard says. Sometimes fun to envision playing with bloodless characters like chess pieces, moving them here and there, seeing how it turns out.
But I don’t think that’s where good writing resides. I think the writing I enjoy anyway is the writing that is on the ground level, below the clouds and mist, face to face and intense, filled with muddy puddles and those splashes when someone drives by and hits one. The writing of out-flipped umbrellas, waving tree branches, surging waves on a shore.
To get there, occasionally you have to get out in your world, experience it, feel is around you, meet people you’ve never imagined exist, have shocking and friendly and scary and enjoyable experiences. For that, you also have to be involved. Get your hands dirty, touch the world around you. Get to know people more deeply than the surface hello, understand motivations, hear histories.
The problem, of course, is the balance between writing time and experience time. I’m still working in that one…