Embracing the spider's web

A spider's web is a fascinating thing, an act of sheer will that results in an ingenious trap. It's also a tremendous feat of engineering, each seemingly delicate strand relying on its neighbours to retain the shape and strength of the whole.

It's creator, however, is rarely seen in such a positive light - a blood sucking, scurrying, long-legged beastie that eats its victims alive. Spiders are often met with, at the very least, distrust if not outright hatred.

My mother would work herself up into a state of panic if she came across a spider. Squealing to my father to "Get it out of here", she would refuse to enter the room until said creepy crawly had been vacated. My father's attitude to spiders was generally to squash them or, if he was feeling charitable, to put them in the garden. I don't know why I didn't inherit their attitudes but I actually quite like spiders. They may not be the most attractive of creatures. They have a devilish habit of posing still then scurrying towards you just when you're about to pick them up. That one always makes me jump. And their dining habits are rather, well, unsavoury. Having said that, they're just doing what comes naturally. There is no spite in their actions. They don't purposefully crawl into the bath to alarm you. Dropping down from the ceiling on a thread is probably as annoying to them as it surprising to you.

A piece of writing can be as wonderful a creation as that spider web. It's driven by the will of the writer because, as we all know, stories don't write themselves. If it weren't for our storytelling skills, writerly eye on the world and vivid imaginations, there would be no tales to read or listen to. If written well and presented to the correct consumer, they can trap the reader into turning and turning pages of adventure, life and learning. The parts of the writing - characters, plot, pace, setting, etc - all play their role in creating a cohesive, rich whole. A writer's vision set down on paper can be a wonderful invention.

And yet, the will that drives our writing isn't always a beautiful thing. Sometimes we reach into the darkest corners of our imaginations to pull forth, kicking and cussing, a victim, perfect for our purposes. The unhappiest times in our lives can inspire the greatest leaps of faith and the biggest pictures of what could be. Where a non writer can naively cross the road, buy a newspaper and pass a coffee shop, we see the possibility of a road accident, the cracks in the vendor's face and the exchanged glances in the shop window. We build and weave and repair our webs, drawing in the less wary victims from what we see, what we imagine and what we surmise. Furled into ourselves and our minds, we don't always strike the most attractive of appearances.

But, at the end of the day, we can't help it. This is what comes naturally. After all, we are writers


  1. Spiderwebs are awesome! I'm going to have to write a short story about them now. Thanks for the topic. :D

  2. That's ok. I like them too, especially on a frosty morning when you can see them spread out on hedges.

  3. Excellent article and analogy.

    Yes spiders webs are amazing, but I hate spiders - that's "hate" with capitals and periods in between!

    I can't let a spider live, especially if it's in the house. We get big black hairy tarantula style house spiders in the UK, and they like to creep up on you along the back of the couch, or scurry across the living room floor, so big you can't miss them. If I miss one, I can't sit comfortably in case it comes out and "attacks" me.

  4. Where in the UK do you live? I've never seen tarantula-esque spiders in the UK. Methinks your hatred is increasing their size. I only get long-legged spindly ones here in Wales. Thanks for stopping by.


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