I read, years ago, something from Ernest Hemingway about his process. (I can’t wait to see which of my literary friends will be able to tell me where he wrote this.)
He took off, for months or years at a time, to live. In his terms, that meant running with the bulls, or falling down mountains, or shaking his sweat off into the sea. He had what most of us would call adventures, big hairy spans of eventfulness, in which he’d get immersed past the reach of words, and soak up sheer experience.
He said, mindfully, that it took weeks or months to regain his command of his wordcraft, but if he didn’t take the time out from writing in order to take time to live, there would be nothing to write about.
Needless to say, I’m envious that he had the choice. Lucky swine.
It’s safe to say that I’ve been living — if not in Hemingway’s terms, then certainly in my own — occasionally even past the reach of words, or at least past the desire to use them.
Some experiences are beyond words, but not beyond gestures.
Some things are a lot more entertaining in retrospect, and if it takes a few weeks or a few months to be able to write about them in the way I want to, well, the time will pass anyway.