Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The purpose of writing

I write.

I write because when I don't, I become worse than unhappy. I become morose, clogged, unsure what to do with everything I am thinking. I see clouds where there is sunlight. I fail to look up at the leaves.

I write in hope that just one person will read what I write. I write in hope that thousands of people will read what I write. I write in hope that I will change one person's life. I write in hope that I will change the world.

I write to give others pleasure. I write to make people think. I write to help others connect with something outside themselves.

I write to connect with everything outside myself.

I write not to leave a trail but to open one.

I write to let the characters in my head breathe.

I write to exorcise my demons.

I write to celebrate joy.

I write because I'm alive. I write to become more alive.

I write because I must.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting there

Never before have I been this devoted to a fiction manuscript. I just won't quit. I don't know what it is--empty nesting and it's now my child, unemployment (I hope temporary), an upcoming writers' workshop at VCFA I need to submit to, desperation as I get closer and closer to the end of life?

Well, I'm only 56. But still.

I've never been able to write about my writing process with any confidence or validity before--but this time, after tangling with multiple beginnings, drafts, and muddles, I realize I know my characters, I know the plot, and I know the setting. I know the theme! I know the middle! I know the ending!

It took several months of spilling crap out on the page. Weeks of writing with success for a couple of hours a day followed by weeks of paralysis. Months of reading other fiction I admire which can be inspiring or ... not, in that it leads to the afore-mentioned paralysis.

I think the real difference is that I have accepted that this draft will suck. It's crap! It's murk! It's completely not profound!!

This I learned through reading so many other writers' thoughts on the process that I finally know I'm not a shitty writer, I'm just a writer.

I live in misery some days. Other days I live in the vast and ephemeral world of flow.

This is cray-cray, as young adult readers might say.

I love my characters. I've loved characters before, and let them die.

Please world, don't let these characters die.

That's a prayer.