Writing (about Odin) fixes everything

Odin, as seen by Arthur Rackham.

I’ve been through a few non-bloggable ups and downs in the last year, and it has been hard to attend to my writing. I hear this a lot from students I teach: they often stop writing when life gets a bit complex (as it always will at some stage) and then they fall out of their stories and can’t get back in. Absolutely, it is difficult to concentrate on your writing when there are so many distractions and demands on mental and emotional energy.

But I’ve found that if life gets hard and I stop writing, my melancholy deepens, my sense of hopelessness intensifies, my feelings of displacement echo more loudly. I am 70 000 words into Isabella’s Gift, the next Kimberley Freeman novel (you can read about it over there), but have temporarily put it on hold to attend to some heavy paperwork and sort out a bit of research. Because it’s bad for me to stop writing all together, I’m writing a short story that is quickly turning into a novella. It’s called, tentatively, “Dreams of Wild Blood”, and it’s about a girl who has grown up with supernatural strength and has learned to hide it, and she finds out on the eve of her wedding that Odin is her father. Adventure, drama, and cage-fighting with frost giants ensues. Dear Lord I am having a good time writing it. I’ve spent this morning in bed with lots of cups of tea, a copy of the Poetic Edda at my elbow, and my netbook on my lap, banging out a couple of thousand words. So. Much. Fun. It makes the mountain of legal forms waiting for me on my desk much less foreboding.

And that’s my point. Writing fixes everything. Instead of saying, “I’m too depressed to write”, you should say “I’m depressed: I must write.” Don’t make writing another chore, another heavy expectation, another unwanted obligation to fit into your miserable day. Make it the place you go to get away from all that shit, your rabbit-hole, your luxurious den of Viking mythology (or whatever it is you are writing about). There is so much pleasure in writing: why deny yourself of it in times that are bleak?

“Dreams of Wild Blood” will be published in a new e-journal called Australian Review of Fiction in February next year. I’ll let you know.

8 responses to “Writing (about Odin) fixes everything

  1. Pingback: Good news: Louise Cusack, Zola Jesus — come on down! « Vampires in the Sunburnt Country

  2. Excited to hear about Dreams… I really enjoy your supernatural works, despite the unhappy endings! I realise you’re probably going to be quite busy for some time with the popularity of the Kimberley Freeman books, but are there any plans to return to your horror/grimm-type fairy-tales?

    • Hi, Simone. I got a little tired of the supernatural thrillers. I’ve finished an epic fantasy that should scratch the itch, but don’t know who’s going to publish it and when. Watch this space. k

  3. Hi Kim,
    ‘Isabella’s Gift’ sounds a little like Kim Wilkins’ works (e.g., Europa Suite). So, what makes you decide to use either KW or KF?
    Kerrie

      • Sorry Kim, my mistake. I reread your post. I was thinking Isabella’s Gift was about the girl who finds out Odin is her father. Tch tch, I better read more carefully next time.
        I’ve been reading your books since I went to a QWC writers’ workshop you presented on horror writing many years ago. Whether KW or KF I have always found your writing engaging. And I have to admit, it’s been interesting ‘watching’ the progression of your writing over the years.
        While this website is full of interesting facts about your writing life, your writing itself shows your incredible journey.
        Kerrie

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