For weeks I have been ignoring my journal and this blog and getting back into writing fiction. It’s been almost two years since I’ve written any decent prose. Or even had an interesting enough collection of ideas to one day meld into a story. I’d been relying on real events to fuel my stories. But now I have a completely different attitude toward my craft. Instead of waiting to be inspired, I’m just going to take a few interesting ideas and put them together. Whatever. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. As long as I’m exercising my chops, and re-entering my imagination.
On top of my confidence boost, I’m reading more frequently — I’m actually finishing books! Jesus, that feels so great. Not to mention it’s great to draw inspiration from other resources. I’m also starting to get coffee with friends who are also writers, which is always awesome. There is so much to talk about — our literary heroes and favorite works, theories, film, current events, the direction of American society. I mean, you can talk about these things with just about anyone, but there’s something about discussing issues with other writers. Last week I went to Rocky Roasters with Myke, and we talked and typed on our laptops for NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t even written any prose for my “novel” yet; I’d only researched and made notes by then. But, the genius he is, he gave me two simple words of encouragement, delivered almost restelessly — “Just write”. Duh! It was so simple. I’d been so reluctant to write in fear of spewing out a shitty sentence, but who the fuck cares — that’s what revision is for. Plus, it’s not like anyone sees the first draft, anyway.
In college I learned this exercise called burrowing (Thanks, Professor Haake!). I use it quite frequently. I started with the first thing that came to me, and that sentence became a few sentences, and that few became a coherent paragraph about the awkward ritual of bumming cigarettes from strangers. And then I moved onto the next idea, just typing, typing, free flow of ideas and thoughts and memories, until eventually I was led to a completely different area of my brain, and what I ended up writing was prose for my next story.
I probably only have around 2,000 words down so far, but I’m not in a rush. National Novel Writing Month was just a catalyst. I am going to need well over a month for research alone. I now have around 3 or 4 ideas I’m making notes for. I may even shit out a couple of scripts if I focus enough.
This is going to be my new obsession, as it should be, seeing as I spent over 5 years studying literature and prose and throwing my money at the undeserving CSU system that constantly fucked me over. And because my bachelor’s degree is in Creative Writing and I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life. I might even pick up a paint brush in between; maybe write/work on my journal only when something genuinely profound happens.
And karaoke — no question I’ll be doing that, too.
In high school I obsessed over painting. I churned out piece after piece without effort, and some of my best work was done at 17. Then I entered college and focused mainly on short fiction. Later, I got into photography and obsessed over that for a few years. Then came the assemblage of my journals. And, of course, a little songwriting here and there, a few open mics… Now, I’m back in focus. My fingers are eager, tapping on the keyboard with steadfast fluidity, ceasing only to pick up a latte, or, on good days, light a cigarette.
I am back. And that unsure, self-concious part of me is dead. I have a new pair of eyes set on my craft, and I’m what’s left. Let’s see what happens…