The Meditative Mood
By Louise Shivers
The ideal writing day for me begins when I wake up naturally at eight o’clock. While I sip on a large cup of coffee I stare into space.
This hour sets the tone for the day.
About nine I eat some protein, cheese toast maybe. From nine to ten I go to the computer or, more often I lie down on a couch with a legal pad and pen. I let my mind wander. About ten an idea or character has come to me. I follow that and start to write.
I scribble from ten until about two. I write down whatever comes into my mind. I spell phonetically and insert notes for later research. I don’t interrupt the process to look up anything. I just try to capture the dreamlike state I am in.
Around two o’clock I start to wind down. I take a twenty minute nap and then have a shower and get dressed.
After that I go into another part of the day: the one that is for business and chores and relationships with real people.
This perfect writer day hardly ever happens. Even the idea of an interruption throws the unconscious mind off. The telephone is the worst enemy so I don’t have one in my studio.
Other people don’t understand that even speaking ruins the meditative mood. No one really understands how fragile the state is except another writer
By nature I am impatient, nervous and impulsive.
Quotes help me keep steady while writing fiction. Non-fiction writing comes from a different place.
Two of the quotes that help me are:
“The Unconscious is like children and dogs. It loves order and hates surprises.”
The other is from Flaubert.
“Be regular and orderly in your life, like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in you work.”
About the author:
Louise Shivers, native of Wilson County, North Carolina, and writer-in-residence at Augusta State University in Augusta, Georgia, is the author of two award-winning novels. Here To Get My Baby Out of Jail was published in 1983 by Random House and was named Best First Novel of the Year by USA Today. Also published in England (Collins) and France (Éditions Belfond), the novel was praised by critics. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post called Louise “a late-blooming Flannery O’Connor.” The Orlando Sentinel called her “A Faulkner from suburbia.” Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times said of Shivers’ work: “It sets us on fire.” The Los Angeles Times called the novel “a masterpiece, a jewel, an utterly brilliant piece of work.” Eudora Welty and Erskine Caldwell wrote comments supporting the novel. The novel has been described as a literary classic by Southern Scribe. In 1986, the novel was adapted for a feature film entitled “Summer Heat.” This story of loneliness on a tobacco farm was shot on location in eastern North Carolina. The movie’s world premiere was held in Augusta. Mayor Charles DeVaney proclaimed May 13, 1987 Louise Shivers Day. The proceeds from the Gala went to (then) Augusta College to establish a scholarship for creative writers. The Will Shingleton Literary Scholarship, named for Louise’s father, is given each spring to an aspiring writer. “Summer Heat” is available on Paramount video. A Whistling Woman, published in 1993 by Longstreet Press, earned Shivers a Georgia Author of the Year Award presented by the Georgia Council of Authors and Journalists. Written with the assistance of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the novel has been praised by The New York Times Book Review, Newsweek, and other national and regional publications. Set in North Carolina after the Civil War, the novel has been optioned for a motion picture and Shivers has completed a screenplay. In 2006 playwright Jayetta Slawson of Southeastern Louisiana University wrote and staged a play Faith's Affair based on Shivers' first novel. In 2008 an in-depth interview with Shivers appeared in The North Carolina Literary Review (No.17). Louise Shivers continues to write and lecture from her office at Augusta State University. She has written a novel/memoir (My Shining Hour) set in WWII years and is currently researching and writing a novel of the Civil War entitled Leaving Cold Harbor.
You might also like
No Comments »
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.