I love wild weather. Love, love, love. I love feeling small in a great universe. I love the howl of the wind, the lashing of rain, the deep, booming shouts of thunder. I love curling up with my loved ones and listening as nature rages around us. I even love blackouts. I used to try and convince Mum to pretend we were in a blackout so we could eat dinner by candlelight. There’s something about storms that bring people together.
This week was a together week. We knew the storm was coming and we were all talking about it, observing the darkening clouds, planning safe routes home from work, finding the candles in case the world went dark. Where we were, up on a hill, kilometers from the ocean, the storm didn’t hit too badly. But the ocean? Even days later, it continues to boil.
For comparison, this is what it looked like on our wedding day, four years ago:
On Sunday I achieved my goal of finishing my last big draft by the end of my leave. Finishing a draft is a great moment. There’s a lot of emotion involved, good and bad. You’re so grateful to be finished, but so utterly exhausted, like all those words were energy in a battery, and you’re completely drained.
In the past I’ve thought this feeling of exhaustion means I should take a break from writing. In a way it does — I should take a break from something so intense and huge as a novel draft. But I’m one of those people who just isn’t happy without a story in her head, a pen in her hand. So what do I do when I’m tired?
Well, this week I plucked a new notebook from my pile (my friends and family know me so well I now have a piled of empty notebooks to choose from) and set about brainstorming. Not for one particular story. Not for any purpose. Just because it was fun to let my mind flit from thing to thing, to trawl the great wild ocean of my mind for flotsam and jetsam and happy little ideas.
This week, while the weather was wild, I let my mind be wild, too. I didn’t tie it down to anything, just let it slosh around a bit. It was incredibly, marvelously fun. Who knows if any of those stories will ever turn into novels. Who knows if they will ever turn into anything other than a notebook of fun. But writing for the sake of writing has been incredibly energizing. I feel full again. And by Saturday I will be ready to jump back into Restless for a final spit and polish.
And because I can’t resist sharing another Mika photo, here’s our little family, all together: