Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. —Carl Jung
It’s winter where I live in New England, and the snow has settled over the landscape in an icy patchwork. For those of us with similar weather, this is the season in which we naturally settle down and get cozy. Especially as Omicron surges, many of us are opting to stay home and settle in.
It’s a good time to remember that all we need to write lies within ourselves. Many influential writers, including Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka, and Jorge Luis Borges, rarely traveled. Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography while imprisoned on Robben Island.
A Season Of Stillness
There are seasons in which we might not be able to travel much, but there are worlds—both remembered and imaginary—that live inside of us, and are accessible at all times.
Dickens wrote, “Every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!” We all carry thoughts, emotions, and imaginings that are secret to everyone but ourselves.
Words make it possible to both shape and share these things, and in writing them (or even speaking them) we take ownership of these unique pieces of ourselves and, sometimes, understand them better and more fully. This, in turn, helps us understand ourselves and take ownership of our own personal story.
This week’s micro-lesson and writing exercise is about secrets and is extremely useful in considering the depth of your characters and the pieces of their history that remain unshared. Secrets can offer motivation and depth to stories and experiences.
From the depths of my secret beating heart to yours, I hope your week of writing is beautiful.