A counter is the blank space necessary to define an object. Ascenders, descenders, and counters are the shapes of letters and words, forming sentences and paragraphs, leading to stories and tales and the long, long road into another world.
Writers start with that counter – the blank page waiting for something black, something white to bring meaning to a flat surface. Without the writer there is no story. Once the writer lays out the lines and shapes, the story is shaped and enters into the lives of others.
I am a writer, starting with blanks and noughts, counters and lines and emptiness. I must think and feel, and then laying it all out in my imagination, giving it a name and a shape, describing my own unique vision so that others can share in its commonality.
I’ve learned in the two years since I started writing again after a lacunae of circumstance that the stories I tell are my stories. Before me there was no story; after me there will be a history of thoughts, feelings, romances, dreams. I have been learning that a writer reveals what is hidden in all of us, hidden by the busy-ness of our being and living and doing. As a writer I examines what is inside myself and what is inside others, and then I express it so that we share something in common: our humanity, our griefs, our joys, our wonder at a universe that is beautiful and silent.
My current Work in Progress (WIP) started as an insight into a young man standing at the crossroads, watching as someone bigger and better runs the stop sign, a symbol of the carelessness some take with the rules; this sets off his journey into examining what makes right and wrong, and whom we should listen to on our journey. The story at times has approached 100,000 words or has shrunk to 75,000 words, but it has been hovering now at 85,000 words for about a year as I keep shaping it and forming it into something that will become a shared experience with me and the reader. Before I started writing, the story was there all along, but it was waiting for me to have that moment where I recognized it, examine it, and started to describe it.
I expect to have the story truly completed soon. It has been nearly done for a while, though I have been slowly and carefully polishing sections of it. Whole sections disappeared, then chapters, then scenes, and now I’m down to the careful removal of phrases, words, and even a stray punctuation mark. It is the art of building the story through the use of counters, blanks, and empty spaces, giving room for the story to build and to breathe.