Writing about writing – what is it with us writers? There’s nothing so absorbing as reading about the way another person writes. It’s as if we’re waiting for the solution. I actually get excited when I realize someone is going to reveal in the next few sentences how she writes – where it happens, what time she writes, what method she uses, where she sits, what music she listens to (or doesn’t). It’s like I’m waiting for the magic key. If asked, I could tell you there is no magic key. I know that. I know that books are made of sentences, and sentences are written a moment at a time. That’s all writing is – stringing together sentences one after another. It isn’t magic. (Well, that could be argued, but it ain’t Cinderella garden-variety magic. It’s more like soul magic, if anything.)
But when I read that a successful novel was written long-hand on yellow legal pads with a number two pencil, I give it a thought. Hmmm. I picture myself on my couch, pencil in hand (do I even OWN a number two right now?), I envision the pile of yellow legal pads. And I know that I HATE to write long-hand nowadays, and I should let the dream go. But for a brief moment I think, huh. Maybe that’s the way a real writer writes.
Have been thinking about emotion and how to drop down into it. God forbid I push my little characters into emotions that aren’t real, appropriate for the situation, or honestly felt, but I’ve got them sitting in the kitchen TRYING to feel. I’m trying to feel for them, and it’s not working. My characters usually do their own thing, or most of them do. When I have to push them it’s because they don’t want to move. I should heed that. I think that music could be a key for me (yellow legal pad?) but I’m going to wait until the rewrite(s) to try that out. Logistics play into this: I write early in the morning and I live in an apartment where I can hear every word the girl next door says. If I played music at six a.m., she’d shoot me. And I write on my break at work – also not feasible to listen to music, even on a walkman (I have to listen for the page in case it gets busy and I have to respond back).
Geez, I sound like I’m justifying. Maybe I am, a little. Okay, a lot. I’m TERRIFIED to write to music, lest I cliff-dive without calling the paramedics first and having them stand by. But when I finish, and start ripping the book apart (I almost feel like I’ll be really starting to write then), I’ll try music. I swear.
This week I’m re-reading The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. She’s pretty touchy-feely and just a touch new-agey, but it works for me. I’m thinking a lot about quantity. If I take care of the quantity, the universe will take care of the quality. It sounds odd and a little out there, but I’ve found it to be true time and time again. If I show up and write, it works out that it doesn’t suck that much. In fact, it’s usually pretty all right.
Me in the torso of my Noro raglan:
‘Scuse the uniform underneath.
I think I’m going to do ¾ sleeves and cardiganize it, using Lisa’s crochet method. I’ve never tried it so I’m a little nervous about it, but crochet steek, here I come! Happy Monday, all.
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