I now walk into the wild . . . . (John Krakauer)


John Krakauer was a mountaineer and writer who explored the impulse that leads people to outdoor adventure. His Goodreads quote of the day caught my imagination. My thoughts flew out before me. Not that I want an outdoor adventure, though it might be good for me. It was because these words perfectly expressed what I think about writing.

The word wild digs down deep into my thoughts – wild child, wild one, wild and woolly, a wild, wild ride.

An interesting word, it weaves into a sentence in different ways.

  • As an adjective – not domesticated or cultivated
  • As an adverb – in an uncontrolled manner
  • Noun – a natural area, an uncultivated or uninhabited region
  • Synonyms, for an adjective – savage, mad, feral. For a noun – wilderness, waste

The writing was savage. I wrote, madly out of control.  My writing went off into the wilderness, a strange and feral land.

I block out a scene, write a piece of dialogue, consider an action sequence, peek inside a character’s thoughts and motivations. I am on that path into the wild. I have no idea where it will take me.

Writing takes me over. I breathe it, eat it, and sleep with it. There is no getting away. I go out for a walk, talk on the phone to family and friends, tune into a TV show or radio broadcast, spend countless hours maintaining my social media platform, talk with my husband. None of these essential life diversions can actually get me away from the story. The wild territory of the writing is still there, always playing out just below the surface of whatever I’m doing. I’m hooked, the story has a hold on me, and I can’t shake it. It’s an uncultivated region that only I can plough and plant and harvest. I must inhabit it, live and breathe life into the landscape.

Writing is a savage endeavour. Writing exhausts me, it invigorates me, it drives me crazy, and it fulfills me – a dichotomous activity that personifies the word oxymoron. Writing brings order into the wild.

img_2974 (2)