On Twitter, I just described the sound float-planes make as “They sound like a riding lawnmower mated with a drunk bee.”
It’s not the greatest thing ever, but for the first time in a while, I wanted to describe something, and it came out the way I was thinking it. You think that SOUNDS like a logical turn of events, but when you’re a persnickety writer like me, it happens far more seldom than we’d hope.
I’ve had a pretty intense bout with writer’s block this year, and only lately am I starting to want to write again.
I’m not sure if it was really writer’s block and not just mental fatigue. Last fall I had the most complicated time-management ever, too much commuting, etc, then I was planning the move here, executing it, et cetera. Writing was work in a life that already had too much work. I was drained, uninspired, and had fuck all to tell you.
And, frankly, gets to a point where sitting down and NOT thinking is about the only thing you want to do. Just… not think. Nothing. Boom. Chill. Disconnect. Enjoy. Rinse and repeat.
For writing is a burdensome thing.
And I don’t mean your food reviews, your educational or business writing. That shit almost writes itself because you know the bones of it, so you sort of just have to flesh it out. It requires craft, but it’s not so intimidating creatively.
When you’re writing on personal or creative themes, writing is a place you go to all alone. You can’t get handheld in writing. It’s you and the screen, man. Mano-a-screeno.
It’s genesis of something from nothing. What do you feel like writing today? It’s taking ideas out of dark mental corners and poking a stick at ‘em.
Me, I’ll admit it, I’m a fucking scaredy-cat sometimes.
It’s easier to do non-fiction personal-based stuff for me, I think, because the places I go to in creative work have been pretty heavy. I write death well, I find. I do really much darker stuff when it’s creatively rooted. I’m a little too aware of it, and I’m not a big fan of the delving I do for those writing things. Or, I haven’t been.
I can’t imagine it’s all sunshine and roses being in Stephen King’s head, and that’s almost the genre I like to write in, but more Denis Johnson-ish.
I’ve had moments of writing fiction and such over the last years, but it was really about 16 years ago that I was last focused on doing creative writing. I dismiss myself from it because I don’t take myself seriously.
But I should. And now I am. Or, well, soon I am.
I moved here to pursue writing. I moved here to put the brakes on and turn my life 180 degrees away from where it was.
Have you ever seen the movie The Wonder Boys? I think the ending’s a bit of a sell-out, but let’s face it, sometimes life actually works out, so maybe it’s buyable if you’re a less skeptical soul like myself.
Anyhow, there’s this whole bit where Michael Douglas’ a loser has-been author-cum-professor whose book-in-progress is read by his student Katie Holmes, and she tells him how he’s always teaching them in class that writing is about making choices. She points to his manuscript and says she feels like he made no choices.
Life’s like writing. It’s about making choices.
When life was sapping my will to write ergo be myself, my choice was to get the hell out of the city that was distracting me so constantly and move to a quiet seaside small city on an island so I could find myself and be the writer I ought to have been by now.
I read not too long ago some famous creative talking about some writer they love, saying the guy took time off writing to “have an interesting life.”
I promised myself I’d do that in my new city. Take a break, enjoy it, and in the winter get my focus on.
After all, life isn’t interesting when you’re a writer. You turn off the TV and turn on the mind’s eye. You sit, you tap your fingers, cross your legs, uncross them, lean on your elbow, scratch your head, and occasionally come up with a few words before you decide your back’s stiff and you need a cup of tea.
That’s writing, I’m afraid, in all its unsexy glory. It’s a triumphant assault on everything that’s fun in life.
And it’s probably why I love it and wish I could latch onto it without so much “shoulda coulda woulda” bullshit that happens when one’s failing to adopt the new “habit” of writing.
But I’m a Canadian. In three months, I’ve gone from having 18 hours of daylight a day down to 12 hours. I’m desperately trying to enjoy the rest of this amazing “Indian summer” as the air freshens, breezes intensify, and leaves go Technicolor.
Soon, we’ll be down to 10, then 8 hours of daylight. Winds will howl across the Pacific and beat the hell out of my little coastal community. Night will consume a full two-thirds of every day.
Writing is something that lends itself to the winter season. Every author has wanted to start a story with “It was a dark and stormy night” with good reason. Because they’ve got a glass of wine, warm slippers, and a November storm is crashing upon their windows. It was indeed a dark and stormy night, and the writin’ was good.
No, it is not often indeed that a writer says exactly what they mean to say when they meant to say it. It’s why, for every 10–15 things we write, maybe one is memorable.
Once in a rare blue moon it happens, and what do you do then? You write more and more and more, day in and day out. You devour words of every kind, you explore where they take you, and you hang on for your life.
Real writing is an unseeable journey. It’s like most things in life, you think you know where you’re going, but very often you’ll arrive having taken a path you could never have predicted.
But that’s the fun in it.