Monday, 1 October 2012

Collective Energies

Throughout our lives we experience collective energy, and it has nothing to do with saving money on your fuel bills. Be it positive or negative, and whether we recognise it or not, we can often admit to sharing someone else’s emotion. Just as we can get caught up in great enthusiasm, certainly another’s sadness can yank us down.

A couple of weekends ago I experienced this power at the Brighton Writers Retreat, where the creative energies in the room supercharged my next project (even if I’ve yet to finish my previous one, but more on The Shadow Fabric in a later blog).

Before I go any further, I need to share something I’ve discovered when researching the phenomena of collective energy: back in 2001, two satellites were sent up in space, one in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. The purpose of these satellites was to record the energy given off from the Earth. Just like an EKG (you know, that beep…beep heart-monitor thing) the results were in constant ebbs and flows. However, one day it leapt off the chart for both satellites. The scientists behind the program soon found something which may possibly have caused such an increase. When studied, this jump in energy began at 9:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001 – fifteen minutes after the first plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Centre.

That is, of course, on a massive scale (and a negative one at that), yet let me narrow my example down to just eight people. Eight writers in a room, where I was one of them. There at the Brighton Writers Retreat, the workshop facilitator, Sarah, sets you up with your agreed target word count, as well as croissants, and off you go…

I had a blank screen in front of me, whereas others were ready to attack ongoing projects. We all had something to grab hold of and get our teeth into (not just the croissants, or even the sandwiches). ‘Get it written!’ was our motto. Indeed, as Sarah says on her website “Stop f***ing about and write some words.”  She has a point, you know? And for me, it worked: my target word count was 3000, and I hit 3300.

We all did remarkably well, and for me I guess it was hearing the shuffle of sleeves and the tapping of keys; to be surrounded by a sound that usually signifies loneliness, but when there are others… well… your fingers leap across the keyboard as if dancing with everyone else’s. The occasional glance at my fellow-writer’s furrowed brows and tight lips, their determination in getting the damn thing written, fuelled my creativity. The collective energies in that room helped me get down what I’d intended.

I’d recommend it to anyone. Find yourself a writers retreat somewhere. It works.

Incidentally, the reason I got to know of this particular retreat (even if, for me, it’s a long drive) is that Sarah is married to an old school-chum of mine called Toby, who I’d not seen in 20 years. After our handshake, he confessed to listening to the same tunes as we did back then, and I could only grin and nod, energised by memories. The early nineties: the era of Guns N’ Roses and the birth of grunge, of Soundgarden, Skid Row and a hairy Metallica. On reflection, I can recall the collective energies when we stood in school ties, sharing our enthusiasm of an album we’d recently heard, or a track we simply had to share. Back then, that collective energy shaped us.

Those moments throughout life, if we embrace the positive energies when offered – indeed, when literally at hand – can shape our future too.

Author photo (c)Christopher Shoebridge
Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, fantasy, and SF stories have featured in several anthologies and ezines.

His debut novel, The Shadow Fabric, is a supernatural story and is available from Amazon.

Twitter: @Mark_Cassell Facebook:

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