Thursday, April 5, 2012

When it feels, write

It's a funny kind of concept. One of the hardest to really, really, commit to. We all like to tell ourselves we uphold the truth, or a very personal version thereof. a lie.
Very few of us, I think, are entirely truthful, much of the time. Even with (especially with) ourselves.
Admitting to the truth often brings pain, akin perhaps to a birthing, of sorts.

I am not unique then, that I tend to settle for the truth as it seems to be, at the time. Really I, and the rest of my human fellows, live in a sort of consensus fantasy world. Things happen, and we tell ourselves a little story about it. Sometimes (all the time?) we embellish that story over time, and it tends to become our reality for that little snippet in time. A kind of 'that moment that sort-of-happened'. We cherish these almost-truths, for they help us to deal with the great big Truth, in a way.

So, according to my own theory espoused somewhat-coherently above, we tell ourself stories, all the time. Every day. We even relive those stories, perhaps flesh out details here and there (we call it 'remembering').
We pretty much rely on these stories to exist, to function. In some ways, they become our reality.

Why then, do I find it so hard to sit down and write a story?!

Well, I guess a big part of it is: I don't do it enough. That's the easy explanation, the one that stares me in the face whenever I sit down at the scrivening-pad. Particularly when I open up a certain blog, and espy the date of last entry...
The other explanation - the 'kind-of-truth' - is that it's just not that easy. Sure, we come up with stories to tell our lives by all the time, but its like breathing. It's how our brain works, man! But sit down, come up with a story about a boy who does something and goes somewhere and maybe gets the girl, but there's big scary monster, only it isn't really a monster, it's the boy's own fears and worries, but wait no! there IS a monster, but the boy defies the odds and....

I'm sure you get the idea.

For those rare moments when the words start flowing, it's really quite wonderful. The sun shines through, the fingers tap across the keys at blinding speed, birds are singing, rainbows and unicorns dance about, your fingers are a blur! You can't put a word wrong, your prose is fantastic and then...


The wall. Or maybe not. Maybe you keep writing, then you look back over yesterdays scribblings (which actually happened at night, because you're an unrepentant night-owl, insomnia isn't really real! and the unicorns and rainbows are clearly a late night hallucination or waking dream brought on by too much caffeine and infomercials playing in the background), and you think "My god! What a drivelling mess! That just won't do at ALL!"

Perhaps you're less hard on yourself. I'm trying to learn to be.
See the point of all this is, those horrible late-night scratchings? The hastily scribbled notes on napkins, or toilet paper, or pizza-boxes (where the leftover cheese actually makes a great outline for the map of...), or (thank the gods of writing for this boon) on your wonderful, magical smartphone - they're all valid. They're REAL, and you wrote them! And it's GOOD.
That's the point, see. Those bits of writing, where there's maybe one jewel in the dross, it doesn't matter if they suck in the cold light of day. They just had to be good in that moment, for that one snippet of time where the words are flowing and all is well. They're your truth as it seems to be, at the time.

So write what you feel, when you feel it. You didn't one day stand up as a toddler and become a champion sprinter. You SUCKED at walking! But you got better, and you didn't let the early days hold you back.

So when it feels right, write!

It only has to be good for that moment.

1 comment:

  1. I like the toddler walking analogy. Like writing it's hard to start with, it hurts when you're not as good as it as you think, and it may take years until you can do it well.