Chaos isn’t a pit

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Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try it again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb. They refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”  – Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones

 

When you hear the word chaos, what’s the first image it summons up? For some it might be the Monday morning commute, or dealing with idiot coworkers. For others it might be a larger idea, like city or state government. Perhaps it’s more global for you like environmental issues. For me, chaos is always personal. It’s the fire that burns away the dead flesh of some long lost ideal or the thrill of a new idea blossoming. Chaos is deadly; harmful to those who are unwilling to embrace the unknown. Chaos is wonderful; with no two days the same, it means a lifetime of new potential ripples to watch.

Writers tend to thrive on chaos, or perhaps that’s just me. It’s not to say there isn’t order in my process or life in general – there is – but Chaos is always at the back of the room tuning up its fiddle for the next dance. We’ve come to a sort of understanding, Chaos and I. It realizes I’ve taken notice of it and the tunes it prefers to play. I’ve given in to the thrill of the next adventure so many times I’ve become an easy mark, but when I put the clamps on and demand a little order in my life, the song has to take a break.

I’ve decided to put a story on hold and do some research. The fantasy piece I have the desire to write has finally come, but there’s quite a bit of world building to do on it. If I’m honest, it’s a massive amount. Far too many books on my shelves have shown me that there has to be enough depth and difference from the past tales that I can’t get too far down the road. Chaos thinks that’s a great idea. It couldn’t be more pleased than to see me shelf an idea for a fresh tune it has begun to play. There’s nothing I can do about it now except to accept the new muse and get to cracking the keys. This happens to most writers I’d assume. The last novel I finished has been to the shelf twice, each time my brain needed time to let the idea marinade. I’ve waited years to see the story finished, and now that it is, I can turn to the next tune.

This process won’t work for everyone; in fact I’d say some would think I’m mad. They might be right. Writer’s tend to sit outside the norms of society. We have to. If we don’t, we can’t rightly dictate our thoughts on how fucked up it is. We’re meant to morph into whatever the situation requires, that’s our true strength, but it comes with a serious responsibility. It requires us to give a double-barreled mirror to the rest of humanity and not care if we upset some people. I suspect this next piece you’ll read from me will have similar ripples. People will be upset; I accept that. The way I see it, they should be upset.

Addendum:

June is here! That means it’s birthday month for this household. The oldest has just turned 16 – wow I’m old – and the youngest is turning 11. I couldn’t be prouder of how much they’ve changed over the years, and credit Facebook for making sure I get a good cry in everyday as the memories keep popping up. Being a parent is many things, but as I learned last year, the benefits of having all the right pieces together make for something truly wonderful.