Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trying to write...

I write to think. As I subject thoughts to the textual exercise, I'm able to hone down ideas and get to sharp crisp points and shiny bright edges. Until I start writing, I'll get caught in loops and trip over ideas and things stay in a big gloppy mess.

More and more, and perhaps somewhat disturbingly, I write to converse. Is talking to yourself any less ridiculous when you write it down? Actually, even though I might be the only person who ever reads much of what I write, I always assume a greater audience. This isn't just for things published on the internet, but even things I never publish or share. This doesn't necessarily mean it is any less pathological than talking to yourself; when I talk to myself, I also assume a wider audience than just me. I'm not talking about being overheard, but I assume that conversations in my head are between a multitude, not just the back and forth of one mind playing with itself.

But now I've turned down a dark road. Up til now, I've contented myself with writing simply about whatever catches my fancy. I start with something I'm excited about or confused about or pissed off by and then just tear through it. You begin with a framework and each addition builds off that. There is a set territory and you've got only so much space that you have to wriggle around in to make (or find) your point. For some reason I'm leaving this happy countryside and staring at blank pages daring me to write something. Why couldn't I leave well enough alone and leave fiction out of it? I suppose it had to happen sometime. But the blank page is a daunting devil to dance with. Even with a loose idea of what I want to write. I've got concepts and ideas and even a few characters laid out, but how to begin refuses to cooperate. That blank expanse screams and dares me to step in and being the cautious coward that I am, I'd back away quietly if I had a choice. But there is an idea, the seed of a story that seems to have lodged itself in me and it is too late to turn back. I couldn't back away from the blank page and leave well enough alone: it would follow me taunting and daring.

I can't promise that I'll get somewhere beautiful on the other side. What comes of it might not even make it as far as this blog, much less a printed page, but as in all things I don't step into it without grandiose plans. Wish me luck.

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