You can read the start of Taliana’s Spring Adventure here.
As soon as Taliana stepped into the room she felt a sense of awe and reverence. A high vaulted ceiling arched above, and the walls were covered with leather-bound tomes. A window located high on the wall held an intricate stained-glass, which filtered a rainbow of light into the room.
In the middle of the room was a light wood desk where an old man sat hunched over a manuscript. He was intensely focused on the work in front of him, his quill practically flying across the page as he wrote rapidly.
The man’s white hair stood in a semi-circle around his deep brown scalp. He wore black clothes that reminded Taliana of a scholars robes, but she could see nothing more. Simply the top of his head as he bent over the text.
She approached slowly but tried not to be too quiet, making just enough noise to let him know someone was there, so as to not startle him. The thread of Evegran wove around him, winding around his arms and body, dancing about the quill and manuscript. A different thread seemed to flow from what he wrote, and Taliana enjoyed watching the play between the two threads for a time. She would expect them to knot and tangle, the way that they wound around each other, but they did not. Instead it was like watching a carefully choreographed dance.
Without looking up the man inclined his head towards a chair by his desk. Taliana took the seat, content to watch the interplay of threads for quite some time. She was fairly mesmerized by them when his words pulled her attention back to the room.
“An artist has to be able to remain focused,” the man’s voice was rough, as though he were unaccustomed to speaking. “There are always trails that will pull us away, ideas that want our mind to run off in all directions. But we must resist those temptations, keep focused on the task at hand.” He did not look up as he spoke, continuing to write.
“Begging your pardon, sir,” Taliana shook her head though she knew he could not see her do so, “I disagree.”
His pen hovered over the paper, his head tilting slightly narrowed eyes looking at Taliana. “Continue,” he returned to his writing, though his attention now seemed split.
“There is something to be said for focus, certainly,” Taliana felt as though she had stepped into one of her fathers evenings of philosophical conversation, “but it seems like too much focus can limit the artist. Those passing ideas, the tangential trails of a story or theme, those can help to enrich the work. A storyteller who knows not just the details of the plot they are telling, but also the rich background stories of even the most peripheral character, is going to be able to weave a more true story.”
The man looked up fully at her now, his eyes still narrowed. Very slowly he put the quill down, his hands folding on the desk in front of him. He looked Taliana over carefully, seeming to take in every detail of her being.
“And what if the artist gets so lost in the side stories that they never return to the true story?”
“What if a painter gets so drawn in by the way the light plays across his subject that he ends up painting the light, rather than the subject?” Taliana shrugged, “The result is still a piece of art, is it not? There are a great many who have given us powerful work thanks to their willingness to look beyond their subject and be open to those other paths.” She smiled at the man, “Who is to say what the true subject is supposed to be?”
The man nodded slowly as she spoke, his eyebrows drawn together in though.
“Each artist has their own journey,” he said finally in a voice that Taliana equated with one who was striving to sound like a great philosopher. “And perhaps their own approach to that journey. You, perhaps, must figure out what your journey is to be.” He inclined his head towards the Book of Evegran still held tightly in her hands. “Are you going to stay focused on the task or allow yourself to be distracted from the path?” He let his gaze linger on the book, then looked up at Taliana his lips turning up in the smallest of smiles. “I shall be interested to see what you decide.”
With that he turned his attention back to the manuscript in front of him and Taliana knew that it was time for her to move on. She stood, taking a breath and concentrating on her next step. As she took that step, though, she saw the old man out of the corner of her eye. Gently, he reached a hand into the air, carefully catching a piece of the Thead of Evegran and winding it around his little finger.
Insecure Writers Support Group Note:
We each have our own styles of writing, our own ideas of the “way to write.” What it really comes down to, though, is what is right for us. Different methods of approach can make for interesting conversation and debate, but truly each of us has to decide how we are going to write, what is going to work for us in that moment, in that project.
This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection! More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.
We also put out a new book, available for free. Check it out for great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond!