Walking a crooked mile

American Crow mobbing Red-tailed Hawk.
Source: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_crow/id
While driving yesterday, I saw three large crows circling above a winter-bare tree. They took turns dive-bombing at a dark shape in the branches. They were persistent, calculating, and energetic. Thankfully traffic was sparse enough to let me slow down a good bit as I got closer.

That dark shape was a red-tailed hawk. It didn't seem terribly disturbed by the mobbing crows, but then, even bare the branches kept them from getting too close so it's possible they'd treed it out of the sky.
This time of year, with no nests or juveniles to protect, it's rather curious to see crows being hostile. Defending hunting territorial lines, perhaps. Or did the hawk steal their roadkill, maybe?
Or they were just being the intellectual assholes that's earned them notoriety in the avian world. All equally possible.
Strange omens. It hasn't been that rough a winter, really.

The message of the ravens-- paying attention to what I've learned, owning and truly embracing the knowledge, is a challenge for me at times. Embracing my strengths, and my weaknesses, and trusting what I know and what I am -- those things are difficult as a writer. I struggle a great deal, unable to just let the muses flow. My own struggle frustrates me. It's a bit of a vicious circle.

It reminds me of a video I saw, a time lapse of a dam being dismantled and the land reclaimed to the river, setting the water free. It was a slow, arduous process over years, redirecting and reshaping the land, removing the buildup of sediment that had accumulated in the original riverbed.

Tearing down the obstacles and obstructions in one's psyche isn't swiftly achieved. It has to be done over and over again, I've found, a retraining of psychological self-speak habits that have formed ruts.

The hawk represents the perspective often lost when one's focus become too deeply engaged. A caution to step back, remember the big picture, let the mind escape from the worry and anxiety.

The crows harassing the hawk... I've spent a great deal of effort as of late trying to hold true to those aspects of awareness and knowledge I've gleaned, trying to find ways to incorporate them into my life more fully. Creating broader grooves, new tracks through the woods.
Taking a break to enjoy the refreshing breeze against my skin (figurative, since wind chill factor is a thing, this time of year) and reinvigorate myself, renew and ground my energy, is probably the best reminder I've had for a while. Can't always be pushing, pushing, pushing. Gotta relax and recharge somewhere along the way, regain that perspective, remember what you're doing it for, what it's really all about, what the end goal is.

There's as many paths from point A to point B as there are people in the world.

It fascinates me, all the possible permutations that exist.
It's also quite enlightening to observe the expansion and evolution of my writerly abilities over time.
Scrivener is such a crutch when it comes to outlining; it's something I loathe doing unless I'm writing an academic research paper of some kind. Which, you know, tell me to write a thesis and I will absolutely crank out an outline. It's just an association thing, after so many years of higher education, I guess. I have this delineation between creative writing and academic writing, and though it sounds like an excuse, it's also a delineation between left and right brain engagement as well. Too much order stifles my creativity -- and turns my prose into post-grad level rambling that would have most readers of fictitious escapism throwing their Kindles against the wall.

So. No bulleted outlines, by all the gods old and new. NOPE.
Before recently, though, I'd not dared attempting to toss timelines out the window and write non-linearly. The thought of jumping around writing scenes out of order had me in a panic trying to imagine keeping track of what happened when, who knew what, etc. My brain? Doesn't care enough to keep up with things on good days, let alone over the course of however many months it takes to write a novel.
Scrivener to the rescue, it turns out. Using a loose structure of scenes nested in chapters, I've developed enough comfort with "outlining" that I can do the jumping around, and write what the muses throw at me, without losing track of what's planned for where, and who's done what.
Good thing, too, because Konaton seriously wanted some blood today. That's makes three times now that blood has a role in the story, all so neatly fleshed out you'd think I planned it that way. HA.
Fucking muses, I swear.

That puts Red's story over 50k. That scene doesn't quite wrap up the ending, but it comes close. There's still a good bit to flesh out in between a well, but at least now Konaton's given me a solid picture of what he's capable of doing, as well as what he's willing to do. Having that character awareness definitely helps.


  1. At times it seems as though the well of creativity is infinite. As though you are carrying around that most prized possession, a magical bottomless bag (oh how I miss D&D days!). Truth be told, at least for myself, you have to feed the muses or they go hungry. Muses get terribly cranky when they go without sustenance.

    Feed your soul. Sounds simple and in some ways it definitely is but when you feel as though your life is full and there isn't TIME to rest... Well, we are doing more damage than we realize.

    Love yourself.



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