Friday, October 26, 2007

The Next Story You Write





The other day I overheard someone with a shrill voice complaining about not hearing human voices anymore. It's all the technology, the e-mail, the war, she said to her companion. I was trying to focus on the work at hand, but found myself beset by their conversation and unable to concentrate. The small modicum of pride I had about being able to write despite distraction flew away, and I found all the advice I give students about making a space for yourself was useless. And thinking that dreadful thought --my best stories I've already told. But maybe that's not true, though, maybe my best story is waiting for me like a UPS package on my porch, waiting to be opened. Maybe I'm going to revise an old story and find something even better underneath, a lost world of memory and love. Maybe, I thought, you need to go home and watch reruns of Charmed to get the creative juices flowing, steal a plot line or two, work from there. Whatever the case, I needed a spell to make the two people with extremely loud voices who never heard human voices anymore go away.

You want to write, but there's a part of you that you cannot love. You want to be devoted, to live the life of the true believer, but part of you wants to waste time watching bad television and drinking Big Gulps. One of my teachers always said that the key to writing was to induce a creative trance. What this meant I cannot entirely know. There's a lot of waiting involved and nothing comes naturally. Just like love or drugs; you will have to suffer for what you want. You will have to give yourself over to it, that suffering and by the end, you will have something. What you do with it is the next story you write.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!" John Irving

Cocktail Hour
Drinking biography suggestion: Schulz and Peanuts David Michaelis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

23 comments:

the walking man said...

Please get out of my head so I can continue on with the story I am trying to finish...please


Peace

mark

paul said...

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Snoopy said...

It was a dark and stormy night.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nothing has ever come easy for me. Relationships. Education. Work. And of course -- Writing.

John Ricci said...

My Dear Michelle
Lovely views and posts as always. Today is grander than any Red Sox win most definitely. It is of course vigorous and humourous and worthy of bonus champagne wishes and caviar dreams and a most assuredly hearty Bravo!

IcyHot said...

Writing is like a wet dream; it's great until something or someone wakes you up.

I'm glad I met you in the airport.

eric1313 said...

"The Next Story You Write"

That has ever been a mantra of mine, and whether it refered to our stories being practice for the ones yet bourne, or to the way we envision the sketchy creative process, it always is some of the best advice you had to offer.

The writing itself induces the creative trance. If I were to induce my own trance, I'd just end up getting stoned, having a drink and reading a favorite book until dawn.

Oh, btw, All Of Us the Collected Poems of Raymond Carver is an awesome read that I'm burning through right now. I highly recomend it. I'm sure you probably already have it. I also picked up Call If You Need Me, his uncollected essays, stories and meditations. I haven't cracked it yet, but it's next.

eric1313 said...

I should write a post called The Next Story You Read!

And let no voice bother you except that one that tells you the words to these universally fantastic stories.

whitenoise said...

I find that music is my muse. this, for example. Triggered by a Small Faces song...

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember how much I always loved getting a new notebook with all the pristine pages. I always though, so much promise. Maybe I'll write something truly wonderful in this one.

Jason said...

In my days of wanting to be a writer, I was always looking for that creative trance. Those moments when the story took me in and didn't kick me out for hours. It rarely, if ever came.

But I find that trance now when I code for my web job. I can focus in and lose reality around me. No food, no drink, no blinking.

Now I just need to figure out how to make it creative.

I would like to write still, I just never do. But I feel like I have a story in me somewhere.

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