owl in winter

owl in winter

Saturday, October 23, 2010

y (Why) write

Lately, I've been bothered about my lack of regular posting, and being rather ashamed about it, I sat down this evening and asked myself a question. How do you write? Why do you write?

Now, as you probably know if you follow me at all, I am part of a writers' group here in Springfield. If you know me even better, you will recognize that there is an awful lot of noise in my head. It's sometimes very loud and chaotic. I see you looking at me askance. The noise in my head, what is that. Well, it's ideas and supposings and I-wonder-how-that-works drama, and what if this happened or that happened, and what would be the outcome, who would be affected, AND if I were the heroine of that scenario, how would I react, what would I do, what would I say? And if I'm NOT the heroine of that scenario, how would the main character deal with all that and how is it right in the end?

As writers, we spend a lot of time in our own heads. There's a lot going on in there. In fact, at times it gets damned crowded. Our characters can be quite demanding.

So, how I do write. Well, I happen to be somewhat musically oriented. I was a pastor's daughter, after all, required to learn how to play piano, and my mother wanted her daughters to be good prospects for marriage in a Victorian sense, and therefore, I was required to learn another instrument,which turned out to be the flute. But, at some point in my young years, I discovered a reel to reel recording that my father made of a radio station somewhere in Wisconsin, and on that tape were songs I'd never heard before. Rock songs, love songs, sensual, pretty songs. And I loved every second of it. My love of music was born at the discovery of that scratch reel to reel tape. And so, from that point on, I wanted to hear something besides church hymns. Whenever I could, I filled my mind with music. Music is a fantastic catalyst for writing, mind you. Music can produce mood, can produce dialogue, can produce voice or setting, can push a story along. Music is a provacative force,which I use often; it can push, it can pull, it can expand but it never stands still.
On another note, sometimes the best ideas I ever get are when I am out walking my dog. Yes, how simple is that. It is simple, yes, but sometimes, walking, clearing my mind of clutter, is the best way to produce new ideas. Breathing in fresh air, pumping the lungs, moving the feet, it's so organic, all good.
I have a writing friend who endorses "Artist's Dates." By this, she means taking in something new, off the beaten path, taking time off to watch a movie, go to an art museum, try a new restaurant, take a class on whatever you want, watch the sun set (or rise, whichever). Go outside your comfort zone. Go outside your comfort zone. Very important. You never know what you can do until you stretch yourself to what to think you could never do. Seriously.

Now, why do I write. I write because I cannot imagine not writing. I cannot imagine a world without stories, without written accounts factual or not, of a happening, of love or redemption or victory, of surviving the odds, or eternal sadness. I just can't. It would be such a sad world without stories.
I hope you feel the same. In fact, tell me, how do you write and why?

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