Wednesday, August 15, 2012

(C)o(r)pus

As the venerated, late Ray Bradbury said, you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

In the weeks since I've finished The Utopia Project, I've been keeping busy on another writing project. I don't believe in talking about WIPs in too much detail, but I'll give the idea: it's longish short story about events in Vincent Linden's life, centering on the Mind Butcher incident. Thus far I have scenes detailing court both human and divine, evil mermaids, and a library.

Writing this story is immensely satisfying. I'll touch on this subject more anon; for now, know that Vin is one of my doppelgangers, perhaps the one who is a closest mirror to me, and writing through his travails are cathartic. Self-indulgent, you could accuse me, and I wouldn't deny it.

But this story ("Mind Butcher") is not this post's main point. Rather, I wanted to start thinking (writing) through the concept of a writer's body of work.

Mine is (for now) modest: aside from The Utopia Project, enough short stories and poetry for a (very) small compilation. When I go to the library, though, I'll see whole shelves claimed under the flag of one surname, enough for worlds. Often, as I read the titles or the dust jacket, I get the feeling that the writer is playing variations on one theme.

In no way is that disparaging. Justine Musk suggests that fiction writers blog around a central question and, as example, uses Monet's water lilies.

At sixteen I can hardly claim a theme/central question/true north. This problem comes up often: I'll read (mock not) personal development books and come away feeling as though I haven't lived long enough for any of the advice to apply.

(Though now I know not to marry too early/leave money on the table when bargaining for a salary/get caught in someone else's machine.)

So, to paraphrase Bradbury again, quantity -> experience -> quality.

A writer's body of work is comparable to a tree. Does the seed know what it will become? Its DNA knows what it is and how to get there. But DNA cannot account for circumstance.

So it is with us, us beginning writers: we know that we need to write, and we may in the darks of our minds have an idea what we're reaching toward. Yet writing informs life (even in my limited experience I've learned this) and I certainly don't know what's going to go on in my life.

What am I trying to say? Being a writer is as simple as writing. But we don't know what we're going to write, and won't until the moment when it's put down on paper or screen.

No really, what am I trying to say? Be patient. Take your writing seriously, keep working at it, and don't worry too much about where it's going, what tree you shall grow into. Writers are like gods, aren't they? We have the means to shape our inner worlds. As we create our individual stories, we can trust to DNA (soul DNA, that is, to borrow from Musk again) to create a coherent whole.

Yes. That's what I mean. Patience.

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Housekeeping:

Apologies for missing yesterday's post. First day of school pushed it out of my head.

Since junior year is supposed to be crazy busy, I shall scale back my posting to once a week for the foreseeable future. Likely this will be the last non-Friday post for a while.

2 comments:

  1. Inspiring! Congratulations on wrapping up with the Utopia Project, i haven't been on the internet in so long i just found out...when can i buy it on amazon then? hopefully soon, put it out there! And thanks for always popping in for a kind word every time i reconnect with the e-world (which sadly is like 3 times a year now). Wish you all the very best with your writing, continua così! And best of luck for your junior year too'

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  2. Thanks for all your encouragement. I'm still a long way from even thinking about publication, but I shall let you know!

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