BANG! And “click”.

I’m late with this post, because on Sunday morning lightning struck the transformer that supplies power to my house. (As the transformer is a mere hundred yards away, that was rather too close for comfort. I’ve been closer, and that wasn’t comfortable, either!) It fried my modem, and I didn’t get a replacement for two days.

For those of you who are about to say, “Don’t you know to unplug your computer in a thunderstorm?” I will say, yes, I do. But it’s been raining for days, and our first warning was a tiny rumble of thunder, then an immediate boom as the lightning struck.

So much for “Bang!” Now, about “click”.

“Click” is what I call it when, after a period of grinding away at something, trying to understand it, I get it. I first noticed this when I was thirteen; a new mathematical concept would leave me puzzled for about three days, then suddenly make perfect sense.

Later, when I studied printmaking, or overshot weaving, or Celtic knotwork or any visual art, I noticed “click” at work. For some unspecified amount of time I would simply labour at absorbing the principles. In the case of overshot weaving, I reread the same section of the weaving book six times with a total lack of comprehension. (I can be dogged when I have to be.) One day I looked at the mystifying diagrams and – click! – I knew what I was seeing, how to do it, and why it looked like that.

So it is with writing. I’ve mentioned before that I’m learning to write mysteries. Right now I’m still in the laborious-construction phase, where I write down a bunch of questions and figure out the answers. It feels like a lot of work. While I’m doing that, I’m reading background – books about the world in which I set my mysteries. I’m preparing myself; I want to be ready to go when that click happens.

I think “click” is connected to the yoga of writing, the work of stretching. If I persist in gently, consistently, doggedly working at learning something new, eventually the click will come. I love it when it does, when everything falls into place and the pattern is clear. It occurs to me now that there’s really a high level of trust in this. I could be putting all that work into a new pursuit for nothing – but I know I’m not. I’ll go on working my way through my stack of books on women in the Middle Ages and midwifery and mediaeval medicine, and writing my laborious and flawed little plot ideas, for as long as it takes.

The click will come. It always has.

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