I spent an hour on the treadmill in my basement last evening (because it’s 97 degrees outside on the first full day of summer!) and soon after hurried up to my humble writing room to pop open one of my Fathers and Sons stories to incorporate the wonderful insight I had about it whilst pounding away on the ever-moving belt below my feet.
I don’t run with music or podcasts, nor when I’m on my treadmill do I watch television. I will look about the portion of my basement before me and lament all of the “stuff” my children have left behind in my safekeeping, but after a while, that gets boring and I go deep inside my head. Often my thoughts turn to my stories — finished and unfinished — and occasionally some insight pops up that must be incorporated. This kind of thing also happens when I’m running outside, generally when I have five or more miles to go before I get home (or to the bagel shop). In those cases I must repeat whatever this insight is, almost as a mantra, so I won’t forget it before my fingers can do their own running across the keyboard. If I’m lucky I can chant it in a cadence that matches my pace (i.e., slowly).
I’m not sure if there is a technical term for how my creativity works. It aggregates. It synthesizes. I think of some random thing, and I suddenly realize how perfectly it illustrates or suits a story I’m working on. This kind of stuff is unbidden but certainly not unwelcome. I can sit down with a pencil and paper and work out a plot in outline form (which I don’t generally do), and I can begin writing a new story from that. But these insights that come from out of the blue are what enrich the stories. The insight I had on the treadmill last evening fit nicely into one of the early F&S stories (in their internal chronology) and yet influenced the understanding of the second-to-last story. That’s good stuff. It fit so naturally that I sometimes actually believe there is a Muse out there tampering with my fecund brain, nudging it in the right direction for developing the stories. (I don’t actually believe this.)
And so, a little more progress. I’m grateful.
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