For the end of the year let’s forget the writer angst-what’s the point of angst anyway? Let’s think about telling a story. Don’t you love a good story? Whether in a book or on a screen, we all seem to want another story. We never tire of them. We watch them on television, we watch them on TV, we pay to see them on stage, and we read them in books. We build religions on them and escape our lives in them.
A story can race the heart or quiet the mind. The power of the storyteller! And I want to do that. How about you?
To cause a pulse to rush a little faster, to keep a stranger up at night to find out what happens next, to get someone to to fork over hard earned money to learn the story I want to tell. If I’m honest, that’s what I want. I want to tell a story.
No angst. No writer’s block. No failure. Just crowd around and make yourself comfortable. Listen, listen quickly! And here is where my story begins….
When my husband went to my blog earlier this evening, ads were posted there. Since I don’t put ads on my blog, this rather surprised me. I went back to look for myself and they were gone, but now I just to say that if you should happen to see ads here, they aren’t mine, I don’t want them, and somebody is messing around here without my permission. Please, let me know if you see any of these ads yourself because I’d like to figure out how to stop it. Thanks.
For Christmas a little art. Many moons ago before I was born, my mother made a Christmas card for her mother. The card illustrated the Twelve Days of Christmas using my grandmother’s five children: my mom (who died at 45), my uncle Barry (who died at 22), my uncle Scott (who spent most of his life in group homes and is now missing–thank you State of Florida), my aunt Susan, and my aunt Genie. Susan and Genie were adopted by my grandmother after their father married my grandmother, embezzled money meant for the families of victims of an Alaskan earthquake, and promptly disappeared. For reasons unknown to me, my aunts are not part of my life.
The holidays bring to mind family–what it is or what it should be–and family influences who we are for better or for worse. But whatever seems like forever is transient and their are no promises for what the future will bring. I like this card because it shows an ideal family that my mother wanted, a postcard from the past, even if it wasn’t real. And surely the ideal and the reality all gather in the writer I am today–my grandmother’s only grandchild and the only one to tell the story.
Most of us have heard (and don’t follow) the advice to write every day. Today I came across a reason why we should take this advice to the ends of the earth if not the end of the page.
Once you engage in writing a piece of fiction from your unconscious, it is crucial that you write every day, because the nature of this place where you go is such that it’s very difficult to find your way in. It’s pure torture. But even though it’s terrible getting in, once you’re in, if you keep going back every day, though it’s still always daunting and difficult and scary, it’s not nearly so much so. You may find–this is dangerous, but you may find–that you can take a day off every six or seven days. When you do, you’ll be grumpy and out of sorts and things will be uncomfortable, but after a day you can go back in. But you take two or three days off and you’re on very thin ice. If you let three or four days go by it’s as if you’ve never written a word in your entire life. That doorway closes and seals itself up; you don’t even know what part of the wall that door’s in anymore. –Robert Olen Butler’s From Where You Dream
This is true. While I happen to like going through the door (in a weird sort of way), I hate looking for the damn thing. I’ve not written enough lately. My novel is on the other side of the door and is shouting for me to get the hell back.
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
–from the February 2008 edition of Writer’s Digest in an article titled Baby Steps: Stop Obsessing about Writing a Book.
Well, for me it would depend on the day. Today is a flop-on-the-floor-and-moan-and-brood day. Other days would be type-manically-and-laugh-out-loud days. I brood because the odds are against me (against us all!) and I’d laugh because I’d write anyway. Either way I’d still be thinking about the writing.
So, I suppose if you had those six minutes you’d be doing something important like…?
There are days when I think I should back a dump truck up to the apartment, crank open the ceiling, pitch out every last piece of paper, writing book, marker, sketch pad, rulers, NaNoWriMo stickers, journals, and the rest of the lot, and go watch television and take valium. Or whatever people are taking these days. Of course, someone else would have to drive the truck away so that I wouldn’t be able to follow. And then peace would descend. Maybe.
The thing about the internet is that it shows me how boring and safe my life really is. Of course, I’ve worked hard to make it this way since childhood has enough craziness for anybody. One last quote from the great and fun novel I finished reading this evening–The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers.
“Now that I come to write the story down I’m even more frightened than I was in that jar. I just don’t understand it. I was supposed to experience something so as to able to write about it, but now…”
“Writers are there to write, not experience things. If you want to experience things, become a pirate or a Bookhunter. If you want to write, write. If you can’t find the makings of a story inside yourself, you won’t find them anywhere.”
So now I don’t need to feel inadequate for the lack of drama in my exterior life because I’ve got plenty of stories within. How about you?