E.L. Doctorow said writing novels is akin to driving at night. You know where you are going and you will get there, but you can only see as far as headlights shine at night. I’m imagining some foggy nights …
What inspires creativity? What causes reality? Take two Aspirins, call me in the morning …
I’ve never hitchhiked, so I can’t write about hitchhiking; True/False?
Can I write more authoritatively about something I know firsthand than experiences I’ve never had? Really? Where’s proof of that? That’s what imagination is for. And research. Yes, I can experience things that never happened to me (or at all) before, with people I know, or characters whose only purpose is to move my story along (hey Doc, does this mean I’ve used people? …)
Suffice to say: novel project re-started
I wasn’t truly stalled, as I often chose to explain but self-excused, self-explained too busy, I’ll get back to it when time allows, letting everything else fill available time, therefore leaving no time for …
I won’t tolerate that self-excusing any longer.
I didn’t write that many words yesterday – spent too much time finding my novel’s pieces. I massaged and polished a bit once I actually found* and assembled those fragments. Re-reading, wondering if what I’d written was as good as I remembered. No. It’s better …
If a stack of pages was gathering dust on a shelf I’d have a reminder, but squirreled away in a file of an old long-ago-crashed computer drive – certainly out of sight. I admit spending worry time about my story. Could I re-create from memory? Relieved, I found my way, and found a few other ‘works in progress’ in my ‘safe place’.
Simple reminder: delete nothing. Then, everything will be saved. Like human memories.
People and characters we know come into our life, wander around, and leave. Characters play a part for some period of time, then leave the scene – we don’t know their backstory, we don’t follow them into their next, they simply play a role for a time. Then they move on. Flip-side of this is true too – for some people we know, we are just characters – we float in or out of compartments in their lives (work, neighbourhood, softball time, circle-of-friends). We think we know them. They think they know us. How could they? How could we? Engaging someone in our lives or simply having a superficial connection would be like the difference between taking a road trip with an old friend vis-à-vis a hitchhiker.
I never hitchhiked. Ever. I’ve wondered if I might understand Keroauc better if I had. Never hunted either. Could I understand Hemingway better if I did? Writers I admire – opposite ends of the human spectrum perhaps. Not getting to know them any better – not fussed about it.
When we experience people we are limited by who they are, who we are, but characters – those are different. Come and go on their whim or mine, live or die – simple or complex, heroic or failing, or both. I can make them disappear. I’m no magician. I’m a writer. Writing. Could life be better?
Among other things, resetting clocks, this column now written twice. Before this morning’s power outage, I hadn’t ‘saved’ my DRAFT.
Started fresh, again.
*Googling how to do single word searches in Windows7 (doesn’t have the same simple tools as my ‘older version). Re-jigging settings, some obscure function. Found ’em. Pieces I’d squirreled away. There’s a lesson here beyond ‘back up your work’ and ‘put it in safe place you will remember’.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk with Gusta: 11C/51F chilly, still raining – thunderstorm early this morning (need to re-set and re-boot everything), happy soggy sniffing everything dog completely missed a rabbit hunkered in the deep grass – perhaps a car-length away, hilarious. I’m in a highly productive take-no-prisoners mode today, lookout world – I’m coming for you (unless you have another power failure in which case I’ll have to start all over … )