Monday, February 23, 2009

On writing

Sometimes, I get the greatest compliments on my writing on here, which I LOVE. Not all that often, and mostly from my dad, but still. I find some satisfaction in writing, but it takes effort and the occasional accolade keeps me going. I used to write a lot more. All kinds of things: magazine article proposals, adult fiction, even some children's stories.

I liked writing fiction, sort of. It felt like the stories were just coming out of the ether, into my brain and out onto my computer screen. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Then, when I found out what was going to happen, the writing all of a sudden seemed like a lot more work, and I didn't always finish the stories.

But the coolest part was how the stories magically appeared. I can force words onto the page, too, but usually that leads to some sort of plot disaster I can't write my way out of. I really thought the stories were divine inspiration. This idea was reinforced when I heard a famous songwriter say almost the exact same thing about how the songs just came to him. Songwriting is a talent that really impresses me, by the way. I do not get how someone can write poetry and match it to music that doesn't exist yet.

When I was in college, I took a literature course and read a quote from Toni Morrison. I'm paraphrasing here because I can't remember the exact wording and I'm too lazy to look for it. She said something like: 'You have to finish your work all at once, or the seams start to show'. At the time, I thought it was very strange and I didn't get why you couldn't just drop a project and come back to it later, like a sewing project. But now, I totally understand it. So, here I am, with my magical gift and on the same page with the great Toni Morrison. I'm so special! Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, I was forced to change my mind about the divine origin of the stories a few years ago after I heard someone else say the same thing about the stories coming to her from out of nowhere. I read her stories and they were truly awful. I wanted to say, 'Sweetie, God did not give you these stories. I don't know who it was, but you need to give them right back.' I didn't say that, of course, because I'm a nice person. Instead, I said, 'Hmmm, those are something else all right!'. Not dissimilar to what I hear about some of my posts, now that I think about it.

Clearly, logic dictates that if her stories aren't God-given, mine probably aren't either. I guess I'm just a hack, after all. But a hack with a nice father.


The Martin Family said...

.......and a good imagination, train of thought, and internal thesaurus. Even if it isn't God given, it is still good.

Helen, Robert, Jack, and Emma said...

When you say adult fiction, do you mean ADULT fiction?

Lauren said...

I think you're a GREAT writer