The holiday season has come to a close, and everyone’s gearing up for the new year. Usually, over the holidays, I take that ‘break’ time to do some intensive writing. This year, I decided to try something different.
I’m sitting here at the family cottage, a house set on a picturesque lake in Ontario. There is snow covering the frozen lake, and I’m just relaxing for the moment, though I plan to put on my cross-country skis and take a tour around the lake later this afternoon.
Everyone who comes to this place mentions to me how ‘quiet’ it is. For someone accustomed to city life, the absence of all that noise – cars, horns blaring, buses, pedestrians, laughter, children screaming or laughing – without all that, it seems almost lifeless.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Here, I have the chance to soak in the sunlight, to listen to the breeze in the trees, and if I’m quiet enough, as I make my way through this world I’m guaranteed to see some creature or another during the course of the day. It could be a deer, coming up to graze close to the house. Or perhaps a fox, running through the woods. Certainly I’ll see birds, and listen to the birdsong.
Up until earlier this week, I hadn’t written a word in three weeks.
Instead, I took the time to absorb. I hung out with friends and family. I read some new books, re-read some of my old favourites. After a controversial disagreement on the subject at a dinner conversation, I went back and watched most of the ‘new’ Battlestar Galactica television show again to re-look at my opinion of it.
Taking the time to not write has enabled me to carefully think about what I will write. I had some sparkling conversations about feminism and what it means – from my point of view, nothing more and nothing less than equality among the sexes. I debated about what it means to be ‘feminine’, and why the feminism movement is viewed negatively. All of this allowed me to think back again about why I decided to write a book in the first place.
I wanted a book where the lead character was a strong female, a capable female, who did not need to lean on the male supporting cast to see the story to its end. I wanted to see a female leader, someone with faults but who I could look at and say, yes, I would want to be like her.
I’m glad I took some time away from writing, because being able to listen, to talk, to read, and to watch has given me a renewed vigour for writing myself. It has made me realize – yes, I do have something to say.