Monday, February 23, 2009

The Writer's Process

"Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted his people's parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world."
Ladies and gentlemen: Virginia Woolf!  This comes from her infinitely engaging novel Orlando.  
I must say it makes me so happy to read these words, not only because of the accuracy, but because it reassures me that I am not alone in my process.
Yet, this does beg the question: is it better to feel comforted and know there are others that experience things as I do, it better to feel alone and know that I am unique and thus, might be able to say something original?
But then again, how can you ever know if you are unique?
Which does, of course, lead to other questions about the meaning of "unique," the possibilities of individuals vs. products of certain societies...but I think I shall leave that be for now.

Diamond Glimpses

Dizzying spirals convinced him that his seat was the most comfortable place to be.  His frozen hands were as immobile as if they'd been tied behind his back.  He was, theoretically, free to go.  However, his body didn't seem to agree with that.  He sat and watched his world twirl and spin.  Shimmering pinpricks of light appeared, first in this corner, then over there, then in the center of the spectacle, all over, like peaking at diamonds in a separate, yet desperately close, dimension.  The effect deepened and moved from his body on into his mind.  He reeled with the possibilities and endlessness of the abstract.  He floated, free from constraints, expectations, social dictates.
Alone in his room, the beige walls sighing, he experienced something spectacular.  A once and unique expression of what was happening in his head was allowed to appear before his eyes.  The straight lines of reality blurred and fell away, leaving--everything else.  Underneath the golden circles forming in front of him, he began to see without needing his eyes, and envisioned his life, that of his mother, his barber, some child in a distant country.  He saw them all coming together, overlapping in certain areas, parallels developing along their memories, their thoughts, their joys.
His long-forgotten muscles began to move, to strain and twitch: the corners of his mouth headed north and his eyes borrowed some of those other-dimensional diamonds.
He could see so much more than he ever could before.  And the straight lines in the world fell away, completely, to reveal the web, pulsing, alive, connecting him to the chair, the chair to the tree it came from, the tree to the earth, and the earth to the stars.
He fell away, inside that web, into what he could now see and the borrowed diamonds in his eyes found their way down into his soul.
No one else in that web, those who saw in straight lines, ever figured out where that sad old man could have gone.  All that was left was the chair and the sighing beige walls.

In addition to general comments, I would love to know how people interpret this piece.  What do you think is going on?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alphabet Exercise

All along, she knew that he was ready to burst.  Before she could do anything about it, he had taken his things and left.  Could she have known that, she would have locked his door.  During his long months in therapy, he never seemed to change or open up.  Even though the doctor said he was making progress, she could only see the circles growing under his eyes. 
Finding out later that he had taken a boat to Europe made her anguish both better and worse.  Getting the news that he was doing his own thing, finally taking charge, was wonderful.  Having to realize that he never wanted to see her again, was awful.  Instead of being able to be happy for him, she decided she must follow.  Just in case he wouldn't be able to see her without blowing up, she donned a disguise.  Kindly old gentlemen, she recalled, had always made him grin: their shaky legs slowly taking their wisdom from place to place.
Leaving behind all that she had known, she flies after him, occasionally scratching at her itchy new beard.  More than once did she think she saw some knowing, amused faces staring at her.  No one could really figure it out, she reasoned, but that didn't make her any more comfortable. 
 Opening her nose to her new location once she stepped out of the airport, she discovered that this scent felt like home.  Protecting the newly acquired identity, she joyfully hobbled along the cobblestone streets.  Quietly muttering her thoughts to herself about how silly the whole thing was, she bumped into a tall stranger.  Resisting the impulse to wrap her now-old arms around the first human contact she'd felt in long while, she looked up to bestow a kindly apology to the man.  Strangely enough, this was another old man whom she had walked into, and she could see faint signs of his beard wisps hanging off of his face at quite unnatural angles.  Though she knew the chances, she ventured a guess.  Using the cane as support, she looked up at a steep angle into those eyes surrounded by wrinkles.  
"Vernon?"  While she watched the shock on his face reverberate through his fake wrinkles, hers crinkled and started jiggling with laughter.  "Xerosis got you already; I can see it's so bad that your beard is coming off."   
Young in heart, as in actual years, they laughed together, staying more or less in each other's company for years, as their new, wrinkled selves.  Zinging each other, they would sit in parks, chuckling at the young kids and the foolishness they got into.

Finding God

I found God.  He/She/They was down at the corner store, trying to steal a Snickers bar.  That poor cashier.  He just didn't know what to do.  Was God allowed to steal?  After all, to some extent He/She/They did create the Snickers.  But on the other hand, if He/She/They didn't perform a miracle to square up the cash register, that cashier would be blamed: maybe even fired. And if the cashier let God take the Snickers, might he then be deemed a saint?  It was so confusing that both the cashier and I, having just walked in, blabbered incomprehensibly in God's general direction while He/She/They smiled at the both of us and walked out, pretending that there wasn't a  Snickers stuck in His/Her/Their pocket. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fantastic Breakthrough!

I've been having problems with figuring out how to finish one of the short stories on which I've been working.  (Speaking of which, aren't dangling prepositions about to be okay due to their common usage in everyday language?  I'm waiting for that to happen, cause I know it will.)
I've been beating myself up because I figured I just don't know how to finish stories, looking to some of those writing books even for guidance, deciding I really don't know how to write. 
Today, I had an epiphany.  I knew what to do.  I knew there was a new character who had to come into the story, which promptly found an ending.  
Now, it's far from being finished and polished and perfect, but damn, it's done!
I am so happy!  I can't believe it finally came to me, and I don't even know how.  I wish I could figure out how to make it happen, but it's that Inspiration thing that just happens.  And no one has ever been able to explain it.  Amazing.
I just know now that I have to keep a story in my mind, turning it over, thinking about it, in order to be able to eventually find out how it is supposed to unfold.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I Want: A Declaration

I want to write.
I want to discover and learn.  I want to learn how and why the world works, and how and why people work.  I want to discover through my writing.  I want my writing to be beautiful, inspiring; I want to learn something from it every time.  As I write, the words and the story reveal themselves to me and teach me so much.
I want to know everything.  I want to learn and have other people learn alongside me as my words flow out.  I want to learn how to finesse and caress my words, my stories, my characters, until they are sublime.
I want to change the world.  I want to challenge established authorities and question the natural order of things: common knowledge, common sense.  I want to learn and teach how to make the common extraordinary, unnatural, bizarre.  I want to show people how the world is, how it could be.  I want to make people think.  I want to illuminate, mystify, tease and teach.
I want to discover unknown worlds.  I want to understand other people, other perspectives, other lifestyles...other creatures, other consciousnesses.  
I want to see the possibilities.  I want to show the possibilities.  I want people to know.  I don't need them to know me, but I want to show them things.
I want to write.  I want to create.  I want to learn.  And I want to share.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Now we return to our regularly scheduled programming

After a very unfortunate incident which involved a brutal fight between a glass of juice and a laptop computer, my Internet access was sadly limited.  Now that I have paid with my soul to renew my access and former lifestyle (in the shape of a strikingly familiar-looking, yet entirely new computer),  I have returned.  
Just a short explanation for my sudden disappearance shortly after starting this blog.