When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened
– Winston Churchill
I’m working on a new play. While waiting on verdicts for the first. Scary, possibly arrogant, but hell, what’s an Imp to do? I’m loving it; it’s great fun. It’s also an utter privilege – I have time and am very conscious of that, using as much as I can to scribe.
However, strange things are happening, and any writers who are reading might recognise this. Happily, the characters are taking on lives of their own, cheekily doing things I hadn’t planned, and that is wonderful. But – also great for the creative end-result, I hope – some really dark things are crawling out of the subtext, smearing their inky, spindly feet all over my previously neat little drama.
This is a good thing – absolutely. It should make the thing more complex and more true to life. But it doesn’t half mess with your mind.
First of all, the little hints I had planned about the darker elements of some characters’ personalities have become 10 foot high monsters, breathing their stagnant toxins all over the world of the play. The second strange thing is that I feel so utterly right and at home doing this. I think about what I’m writing, or will write, almost all the time – more so than when I was working on the first play almost full-time a year ago. I’m writing almost full-time again now, but it feels more ‘proper’. Perhaps it’s ‘cos I’ve got used to the idea of being a writer, but then, I hate the idea that I needed to give myself permission to write…
I think there may be some truth in this, however. Have you ever looked back at a particular time in your life and noticed how good it was – perhaps more than you realised back then? I am getting much better at living in the present, and perhaps this writer-thingy is just a symptom of that larger attitude. Neurological studies (Oliver Sachs and others) show that if your sense of time is destroyed through accident or disease in the brain, you can end up without fear or angst about the future. They also report a sense of well-being, even though the people involved know that they have a neurological problem.
Now, as you know, I like the old time/bondage/consciousness thing (if you want to read more, type ‘time’ into the search box on the right hand side, or click here to go straight to the results of that search, thus saving you some time). And it’s fascinating to think that you can lose your sense of time, and when you do, you lose your worries (worry is always about things which might happen, i.e. in the future) and that your sense of well-being shoots up. That says to me that perhaps the lower our consciousness of time, the lower our negative experiences could be. Down with time, up with happiness?
What would we really lose if we stopped worrying….?