Thursday, 11 July 2013

Searching for our flow in July

What to do when a bunch of writers are feeling generally run-down, jet-lagged, heat-exhausted, worn-out and battle-weary? Gather in Rob’s garden on a rare, warm July evening with Annie’s banoffee pie and drink –how decadent – Pimms, and discuss Linda’s novel and Tony’s trip to Nova Scotia and Annie’s recent illness and Chris’s struggles with combining work and writing and the fact that Izzie is in Marrakech (and resist singing Crosby, Stills and Nash) and Rob’s canoe and who’s going to have a go at the Costa Short Story Competition and when is a professional magazine actually an academic journal and does that give them the right to pay their contributors nothing and how would it be to have a novel within a novel, especially if it were an erotic novel inside a comic novel?   

The truth is, we are all struggling a bit to get back into our flow – avoiding apathy and boredom and worry and anxiety and finding a path between control and excitement where writing becomes what it can be at best – a ‘flow’ activity, when the mind is completely engrossed in the task at hand, without our being conscious of it, and when we lose awareness of other things - time, external stimuli, the need to stop and eat. Annie thought I’d made up Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his concept of flow but I promise I haven’t and, hopefully, between now and our next meeting we will all have had a few flow experiences (and I don’t mean that in any erotic or even comic sense.)

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