“In the depth of winter I finally realized that there was in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
Now that fall is here, the pace seems to be quickening. I see it in the cars rushing back and forth in my hometown of Montclair, in the kids racing to school with their backpacks, in the shorter days. We seem to be moving toward something — there’s an energy that’s carrying us forward into the next phase of what life has to bring us and we have to embrace. It may seem odd to focus on this no a beautiful day of Indian Summer, but it’s true: Winter is on its way.
Just as winter will come and wrap everything in its lush whiteness and stark silence, we may find ourselves facing seemingly bleak, tree-bare moments in our writing — moments when we feel stuck, hopelessly muddled or just plain lousy about our work. When this happens, as Albert Camus discovered, we can turn inward for help, to that “invincible summer” inside us. And why wait for winter? That place is available to us at any moment — now, with our next heartbeat.
“Invincible summer” — is it a place or a state of mind? Does it really matter? To me, the invincible summer inside each and every one of us is more about faith and belief than a destination or a mindset. “Invincible summer” — in my mind, these words capture feelings of
happiness and joy, safety and refuge, sunlit warmth and beauty, openness to life’s possibilities, the flash of angel wings. When we tap into these feelings, we are lifted up and free to fly. It doesn’t matter what’s happening outside us; in spite of the real or emotional weather, we can tap into our creativity and bloom — we can thrive and prosper.
Writing is a joy and a privilege, but it can also be trying and discouraging. We can find ourselves facing a page that seems empty of life and winter-bare. When this happens, what can we do to summon up the “summer” inside us so we can go on? A few ideas:
We can recall moments of joy and happiness in our writing and our lives — we can relive and savor them and find strength in them. We can think of someone we love and cherish, someone who makes a difference in our life just be being close to us. We can tap into our playfulness — the joyous abandon we felt as kids, when every moment was fresh and new, an adventure. We can summon up words of inspiration — words that have created sunlit paths for us in tough times and ask them to reveal their magic once again. We can simply ask for the muse within us, the divine spark that’s always burning inside us, to shine more brightly so we can see our way more clearly.
“Invincible summer” — what powerful words these are! When you are feeling winter-bound, what are some of the ways you summon your inner summer? I’d love to hear about them as we all write on!