On this cusp of spring, expectation is in the air, the buds quivering on the trees, the green of the bulbs pushing their way through the frozen ground. It is as if we all, on this side of the hemisphere, take a collective breath and hold. . . and it seems to me that a good story elicits this same response. We read with anticipation, expecting a flowering of insight or understanding when we reach the end, and, if not, we are disappointed, let down by the writer. Not that every story must lead to some great epiphany, but there must be at least the slightest shift in pereception, like the setting sun casting its rich hues on the garden, and then, swiftly, night falls.


The only place I can really run is along the beach, by the sea, its energy invigorating me, saturating every pore of body. It is similar to the energy in the garden, the explosion of life in the middle of the summer, bugs buzzing, flowers humming, swallows soaring, cats hunting. . . How else, but for all this energy I absorb, could I harvest bucket after bucket of flowers every Friday eve? Energy begets energy. But is it the same with writing? In writing workshops a common thing to say is that there is such energy in the language. But how do we transfer physical energy to the page? Is it merely our choice of words? Our punctuation? Our rhythm? Proust lived mostly a sedate life when he worked on his masterpiece, “Remembrance of Things Past,” yet there is such life, such energy in his work, as if all the energy he received in his youth, all his pereceptions, imagined and real, were released from his being like an explosion. But I believe energy can spill directly onto the page from the waves, the moon, the festivals and the trees. . . not just from the realm of memory, but as a direct transfer, where we are the medium, tapping into the pulse of life that with a little alchemy brings our characters to life.


Maybe it’s because I went ice-skating every Saturday in February that balance has been so prevalent on my mind. One is so keenly aware of the body when skating, a sweep to the right, a sweep to the left, then that centered, forward glide. In this fast-paced society it is so easy to be knocked off balance, to forget how to breathe, how to truly exist in a balanced, natural state. The buzz of activity in the garden by day quiets and closes come evening. But we are still restless at night, worried about the days ahead. If we could only learn how to glide more. A sweep to the left, a sweep to the right, then let the universe take us where it will.