Winter Writing

Winter is the best time for writing.  Up in the Northern Hemisphere, around the 45th parallel where wind through pine needles and the raving of coyotes can sonically mesmerize.  Black ink of outpouring thought stands out starkly against the snow and the page.  The mind is cleared and invigorated by the cold air.  Those mute visual thrills like late rising amber moon, aurora borealis and the rare sight of winter constellations are like subtle vision-doorways. 

In the lush, warm and ecstatic summer there is sometimes too much life, sound and love at night (or during the day) for the best writing.  One is too easily distracted by nature, and by those jewels of nature: women, psychedelic plants and hot-rods.  The long-winded concentration needed for good writing comes much easier in winter.  One can either use this winter energy for their benefit, move with it or be depressed by it.  On winter nights there is very little sound.  And there is snow – which stills and sets a canvas for the mind.  Winter is creative healing because one’s inner glooms are reflected into the landscape, making one unexpectedly jovial and forgetful of the dead and colorful past.

The details of  life and it’s subtle understanding come back – with a cinematic inner clarity.  Imagining May is somehow easier in January than in April.  The mind gathers creative impulse from strong natural contrasts in the same way that opposites thoughtlessly attract.  Yin/yang electric magnetism.  Life is dormant and slumbering with stored light outdoors.  So the creative mind springs to life out of soulful necessity.


Some Thoughts On Writing by Ben Fathom Anderson

     Words can become dangerous weapons or lucky charms for and to the writer.  Write your first million or two and they’ll forever hum around you like a fiery aura.  With serpentine action, spring-loaded tendrils of awareness reach out, touch the world and bring back something to the mind which then can re-orient the senses with vocabulary, making instantaneous connections and transformations of meaning.  The activity of writing becomes mysterious.  Words jell into rhetoric,  are spurred into mischief, or are intentionally dulled and blunted into the weaponry of control.   All depends on the nature of the spirit which gives them impulse.   A voluminous vocabulary is an enemy or cause of suspicion to some and a liberating joy to others.  Similarly, dumbed-down and slanted presentations of information are a tool for one political force, while it’s opposition may thrive off the same facts presented in a more detailed manner. 

Write your weight in notebook paper and writing sometimes becomes round-the-clock mental writhing and part of one’s metabolism.  The words can stick inside you like an infection, curse or trans-synaptic mining tools.  Refrain from using them where they don’t do much good.  Slow wind through pine needles is better medicine than too much subvocal gibberish.    The  vocabulary is the wrong tool for the unkwown or unknowable where silence is right.  Know when to shut off the words and ask why with silence.  Make them your life tools, your pawns on the checkerboard of nights and days.  Nothing but moves after your first ten million or so willfully written words.  Project them out, to open a lock, a hallway or to crystallize a hidden vault of life in the flux.

(Paradoxical language – “Clamorous silence, the singularity of the void.”) Language which sets up a puzzle for the mind, a literary decoy – while the spirit understands and dreams, just barely wobbling outside of the body.

Or hold them still (they’ll re-arrange themselves) to hover and beckon like candles of intent.  Plant them like seeds.  Command them into the ground.  Deep down in the mind.  To later excavate a dream or to stir from doubt or shadow an otherwise obscure opportunity.  Fashion them into clever arrows and razor-true memes.  An edge to illusory odds.

Imagine the devastation (or the greater power and freedom of the few) caused by heiroglyphic language in the wrong hands.  (Mayans, Inca, Aztec priests, like that freaky Mel Gibson movie. etc.?) ((Maybe the whole Mayan December 2012 “End of Time” debacle is less about the end of the world and more about reaching the limits of industrialization; the end, the withering of an industrial, mechanized and economic flavor of time.))

There were bigger and broader slices of reality pie up for grabs back in the heiroglyph days, but they were controlled by few.  Like the heiroglypic influence of big advertising today.  Word-pictures. (( Or the weird link between religion and currency in the US, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” What is that?! Like the word “FREEDOM” pressed into millions of credit cards.))  Modern english is less powerful, less wrathful, but more exact.  A knee deep ocean of greater vocabulary.  Complexity and choice in language=heightened sense of individuality? 

…Write like an illustrator of intent.  Break habitual molds of thought with new modes of words.  Use that juiced-up, electric phraseology.  Don’t lure your own destruction with words like Hemingway or maybe even Poe did.

And remember what Musil wrote, “Resent one’s era and you will surely be punished by it.”  A good word of advice for any writer who starts to go a little too far in “finding the big lie behind everything,” like the character Pierre in the Leos Carax movie Pola X.

Write a bridge and walk across it.

An artist could build themselves a place in the next life.  Having brought tools of language, imagery, sound under their flexible command and to make full use of one’s awareness – to make one’s awareness one’s own.  To disagree somewhat with conditioning.  The artist can take their awareness into the next life to a place of their creation.  Or have some measure of control over where their awareness goes.  If a Zen archer can hit a bullseye blindfolded, an artist can prepare a spot for landing after life’s end.


Write till you’re three hours deep in ink.  Standing starkly against the snow.  To the place where thoughts are not faster, but slower, turning to icicles.  Where time is compressed.  Met the muse where the pace of time has loosened  it’s daily world grip.  Past and future here coalesce in creative deja vu.  That’s where the good stuff begins to speak, after the intermission of silence.  Where words aren’t pulled onto the page by effort, but appear and construct of their own accord.  Not under command by coffee or the mouth, but flowing after patient beckoning.