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
Drinking biography suggestion: Schulz and Peanuts David Michaelis
Benedictions and Maledictions