Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia
By writing this journal I’m hoping to fully immerse myself in my writing again. To express the depth and intensity that I enjoy and appreciate in other writers. To regain my purpose and drive.
I read a haiku poem recently called ‘Catalyst” by Anita Virgil. Only three lines but very relevant to now, to this…writing a journal.
The room is white
Until that red apple
It is often easy to miss what is right in front of us. I am going to put a plan in motion to keep myself motivated as well as tap into my emotions. Creating conflict in writing can, and is often too close to the bone.
I intend to go back to my first love and read a poem every day and respond to it. See how the poem is relatable to my characters, the novel’s flow and plot line.
Here is my response to the poem Catalyst:
Black script curves
Undulates in a river’s meandering ease
Until meaning slaps like a wave.
Immediately after I’d written it, the word hidden sprang to mind. What had I forgotten that is hidden in my characters? What drives them?
Each character is an individual. I will try to regenerate that feeling of discovery, of that first insight into who the character is and the journey they will take - the reason behind the journey in the first place.
I started my writing life as a poet. Its brevity suited me. I loved searching for the right metaphor that I hoped, would convey the emotion I wanted to evoke. I think it was my form of journal writing.
It came to a great halt when my brother, a songwriter, died of cancer in 2002.
I couldn’t get past his absence for a long time. But eventually, with the help of music and a need to write something in his memory I resurfaced.
The knack of writing poems seemed to have deserted me. Luckily I discovered Neil Gaiman and his Sandman series. It hit a chord – his big themes of Universe and myths
Already an avid reader of fantasy I looked at what I loved about the genre and came up with some ideas. Ideas based on that connection I wanted with my brother again, and with music.
Many fantasy books used crystals as focal points in their magic. That appealed to me too. I’d always felt there was resonance in rocks. So, I began my journey into novel writing – a big step for me and wrote 100,000 words.
When I had nearly finished, the drive that had kept me going left me. Looking back, I realize that writing the novel was part of my grieving process. Odd not to know it, but I think I blotted it out. Tried to see it as creating something new, of being constructive.
Even now I struggle at the idea of finishing it. Sacred to let go of what it represented? Probably. It’s difficult. Hopefully I can get past it and believe an ending is not forgetting.
I let work take over for a while. Enjoyed teaching Creative Writing and drawing, after going back to University. Also worked in mental health, looking for answers. My mother had had clinical depression all her life.
I’d always felt helpless and hoped by seeing others, trying to help them it would open a window into my mother’s mind. It didn’t but I came to understand we all have our inner struggles, and by just being supportive we can make a difference.
I kept writing bits and pieces all the way through. Concentrated on short stories but still had the characters from my novel popping up in my head. I had to visually represent them.
I’d previously learnt to draw and dabbled in oils but I wasn’t truly satisfied with the results. That’s when I turned to digital art to see what I could do. It suited my style. I love to grab images, often random - my subconscious obviously telling me which ones, then layering them. I’d often end up with happy accidents just like in watercolour As well as flops.
I have now revisited my original novel and am revising, adding new aspects. But will I finish?