Archive for March, 2011

Paralysis Part IV–The End

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I nearly forgot the bliss of finishing a story.  I just inserted the final punctuation on my contribution for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurences: Tales from the Archives anthology.  For me, completing any creative project is a validating experience.  It is a reminder that I can indeed start something and finish it.  After a long drought, that is an important message.  It wasn’t so hard–it didn’t even hurt one bit.  And now that I’m done with this draft, I’m already thinking “what can I write next?”

After finishing the first draft comes some legwork.  The rewrites and edits–the privilege of any writer and where the story truly starts to sing. Chisel away the imperfections, fill in the holes, add a little spice, a little extra swagger, and voila–the beast is a living, breathing thing that can be shared with with all.  Am I eager to get this piece of fiction out there? Hell yes. It’s a testament that I haven’t gone anywhere and will be around doing this for a long time to come.

Sustain

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It’s been more than a week since my last post (since my last confession).  I’m happy to report that I’ve written almost everyday since the 9th.  I won’t say that it hasn’t been a challenge–the plot and setting of this story require a lot of thought and quite a bit of research, but because of that, the process itself feels new and fresh.  I’m relearning patience and even though this is a piece of short fiction, I’m comfortable knowing that I won’t finish it for another week.

What’s been the hardest part? The first few minutes where I sit down.  I don’t hit the ground running so much as I hit the ground and lay there for a while. I start first by crawling and then by walking. Ultimately, I hit my stride.   When I come into that zone, it’s like I never left in the first place.  One idea sparks another idea, and like that, I’m creating.  It’s nice to know that I can still surprise myself.  The best part–I’m having a good time at it.

Paralysis: Part III – Forward Motion

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I can speculate all I like. Spending hours dissecting my psyche to create a laundry list of causes for my slump. I could probably come up with a very clear picture of the mind-plague that led to this recent aversion to sitting still at the keyboard for more than five minutes.  But what is really important now is getting in that chair,  putting my fingers on the keyboard, and writing.

This morning, I did just that.

After shuffling my beautiful girls off to daycare and work, I had some time before I had to punch the clock. I turned on Interpol (Turn on the Bright Lights), cranked the volume, and wrote.  It was so simple in the end, I almost wanted to laugh.  I let my imagination and my fingers do the work and let the part of my brain that has agonized over the process for so long take a break.  A thousand some-odd words later, I was rewarded with the start of what could be a very tasty short piece of fiction and the knowledge that, yes, I can do this.   We are defined largely by our own perception. If I think I can’t write, then I’m not going to be able to do it.  If I consider myself capabable of telling a good tale, then that’s just what’ll happen.  Belief is a powerful thing.

And in this case, I’d say it’s magic.

Now to sustain what I’ve started.

(Image credits: Rubber hits the road Some rights reserved by dkuropatwa)

Paralysis Part II: Patience

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Maybe I should title this part of the series “impatience.”  You see, I have this burning desire to make everything happen all at once and when I can’t, I’m quickly consumed by the frustration at not being able to achieve the impossible. It might shock you to learn that I can’t snap my fingers and have a story idea leap onto the page as a finished work.  I can’t point at a manuscript and command it to be final.  I might have the hair of an Olyimpian, but last I checked, I can’t fling lightning bolts from my arse or vaporize a Titan (I don’t think). What if I had that kind of mojo? I’m sure it would lead to a whole new world of frustration, so I’m not going to speculate further.

I am a fan of instant gratification–how could any one not be?  That’s why I love making music–I get a flash of inspiration and ten minutes later, I have a completed song.  Prose not only takes discipline (something I’ll get to in a future post) but patience.  There’s something to be said for that journey–a lot is gained on the path to creating a finished story or book. That is all very sweet and it makes me want to hug my neighbor.  I’ll tell you this. The  journey easily becomes a desolate stretch of road, the destination coming no closer,  when faced with daily emails wondering about when the next piece of fiction will drop and having no good answer or while watching idly as peers put out new material every other day (or so some day it seems).

When did any of that start to matter? At some point, it didn’t even exist.

The privilege to be able to take my time, to use these moments to get something right, should not be undervalued. Writing didn’t feel like work when I wrote, edited, and rewrote Crescent.   My only expectation was to tell the story I wanted to tell the way I wanted to tell it.  If I can get back to that pure place, I just might get back on track.  I need to set some reasonable goals and then get down to the business of enjoying myself.

(Photo by Offbeat Photography)

Paralysis: Part I – Stranded

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

I’m going to riff here. It’s been a while since I’ve posted and if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything at all (songwriting doesn’t count, it’s a different beast for me entirely).  A strange thing has been happening every time I sit down with a new idea. Nothing.  The engine seizes and like that, I’m rolling to a stop on the shoulder of some god forsaken lost stretch of highway with no clue how to get the machine running again.  I don’t even know how to pop the hood. Did I ever mention that I don’t have a handy bone in my body? Another truth–I’ve never been in this place before. I don’t recognize the countryside.  The air here is different—heavy and overwhelming. Talk about a wrong turn. In the past, I’ve been able to work through any creative block. This is different.  February had been a particularly trying month—deaths, illness, loss of beloved pets. What started as a tingling in my inspiration and motivation has progressed to full on numbness. I don’t think they’ll have to take my legs—yet.

Now, don’t despair. I’ve been editing older material, and suspect I’ll put something out there before long.  But I haven’t written anything new since December.

I need to explore my head, figure out how many goons have tied up and locked away my muse, and then take them out one-by-one. The fact that I’m writing a blog post is a good first step. And believe me, it wasn’t easy to get it started.  But once I got it rolling…

Maybe there is hope for me.

I intend to share the journey.

This is my attempt to rediscover the discipline to turn my inspiration into words.

The hood is open, my sleeved are rolled up, and I’m peering in. The sun won’t set for a little while—here’s to hoping I can get this tin can running before it does.

(image by rocco.degiacomo)

Add Terminal to TA10-113

Paralysis: Part I – Stranded

I’m going to riff here. It’s been a while since I’ve posted and if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything at all (songwriting doesn’t count, it’s a different beast for me entirely). A strange thing has been happening every time I sit down with a new idea. Nothing. The engine seizes and like that, I’m rolling to a stop on the shoulder of some god forsaken lost stretch of highway with no clue how to get the machine running again. I don’t even know how to pop the hood. Did I ever mention that I don’t have a handy bone in my body? Another truth–I’ve never been in this place before. I don’t recognize the countryside. The air here is different—heavy and overwhelming. Talk about a wrong turn. In the past, I’ve been able to work through any creative block. This is different. February had been a particularly trying month—deaths, illness, loss of beloved pets. What started as a tingling in my inspiration and motivation has progressed to full on numbness. I don’t think they’ll have to take my legs—yet.

Now, don’t despair. I’ve been editing older material, and suspect I’ll put something out there before long. But I haven’t written anything new since December.

I need to explore my head, figure out how many goons have tied up and locked away my muse, and then take them out one-by-one. The fact that I’m writing a blog post is a good first step. And believe me, it wasn’t easy to get it started. But once I got it rolling…

Maybe there is hope for me.

I intend to share the journey.

This is my attempt to rediscover the discipline to turn my inspiration into words.

The hood is open, my sleeved are rolled up, and I’m peering in. The sun won’t set for a little while—here’s to hoping I can get this tin can running before it does.

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