‘They,’ he said, and his arms swept out to embrace the world, ‘will tell you and encourage you to develop your brain and your five senses. But that’s only the half of it, that’s only being half a human. The other half is to develop the heart and the wits.’ He ticked them off on one gnarled old hand with the end of his pipe. ‘There’s common wit, there’s imagination, there’s fantasy, there’s estimation, and there’s memory.’ Old Woody’s face turned upwards, his spirit danced and was warmed out among the stars whilst his body remained with us and was warmed by the old tin-can brazier. ‘Never let anyone rob you of your right to be complete. The daylight is for the brain and the senses, the darkness is for the heart and the wits – Never, never be afraid. Your brain may fail you one day, but your heart won’t.’
I first read that quote in my early teens, and I thought of it again yesterday when I was telling a friend about the book, Mister God, This is Anna.
I’ve always loved the night-time, and it’s probably no surprise that night is when I write best; the distractions of the day and their demands on the senses are dealt with, and out here in the bush it’s still and peaceful outside, with only the rustlings of the nocturnal animals. My imagination unfurls, and I can more easily find my characters’ hearts and souls. Writing becomes more intuitive, the words flowing, and less a conscious, rational word-by-word process.
So perhaps Old Woody was right – the darkness is for the heart and the wits.
Wednesday Wisdom is a new feature on my blog, in which I’ll share a quote or some wisdom that has shaped my thinking about writing, books, reading, love, or similar.
Although I won’t be posting every day, themes for different weekdays will, I hope, provide writing prompts and ideas for me and therefore make my blog more interesting for readers, and more frequently updated!