I know this may seem strange, but to me a story is like an organism. It’s alive in itself. I’ve been thinking a lot more about this concept in my work. I don’t feel like I am the person that controls the world, in a way. I’m the one that designs it. However, it’s not really my decision what the characters actually do in the world that I give them. I’m aware of the hypocrisy & ludicrous nature of such a statement. Though, it seems like the most honest way that I can describe the process for me as a writer.
Tag Archives: Writing
I don’t believe that it’s often people find resemblance between themselves and great men in terms of personality defects. However, in this case I find the comparison quite pertinent. It’s been said of Da Vinci that he often grew dispassionate about some projects once he had fully planned them. This is one reason given for that fact that he didn’t complete many of his projects. His interest was simply drawn to other areas. I must admit that recently – more than ever – I have been identifying with this ‘flaw’ (for lack of a better term to describe it).
I’ve been going through a stage of writer’s block for the last couple of weeks now. I’ve just had no real motivation to write anything. At first I was putting it down to the fact that I’ve started a new job and have been stressed about it. But that’s never really stopped me from writing before. The more I think about it, the more I think that location is at the heart of the problem.
Why can’t I read a story for its purpose? Why does everything need to be dissected? This has been something that has been troubling me recently. I’ve been reading ‘How to Write a Novel’ books and reading quite extensively. I’ve been doing this to help me with my novel. These have their value in helping with structuring my own work. However, I’ve been wondering about whether or not I’m removing the joy of a creative work by reducing it to a formula to be studied.
I was at a family gathering last night back in Ireland. It happened at my late grandmother’s house; the place where I spent some of the best days of my childhood. The nostalgia crept up on me instantly as I walked up to the farm. It was the place where my cousins I and first allowed our imaginations to run wild. They were the days when I created my worlds physically to run amok within. In some ways I suppose it was where my love of the imagination grew from. I don’t think that I’d be a writer today if I hadn’t spent my childhood making stories among those fields. A broken down tractor that became a multi-functional vehicle. A collection of trees that became the set of a million different dramas. The bales of hay that became a wrestling ring. However, when I began to think about writing about what I saw; I couldn’t.
I take the pills in a withered hand. It shakes. Not from fear though. It hasn’t stopped since the day you passed. The flask-warmed tea tastes bitter as the pills dissolve within it. The two curdle together in my mouth. Not long now. Or so I hope.
A hole in the moth-eaten tweed draws my brittle fingers toward it. Purple snake-veins protrude from the wrinkled milky waste. I attempt to mask the hole from…from whom? Is there anybody left to even notice and, if they did, to care.
Your duck is still here. He looks unsure of whether to take the crumbs that I throw towards him. Perhaps they were sweeter coming from you. But then again everything was sweeter coming from you. The ground that I walk upon is now worth more than everything and everyone that walks upon it, because you rest within it.
All the ducks seem less eager for sustenance without your presence. For them, the very act of eating has lost all joy, point or purpose. They merely wade aimlessly. The sky above is a dirty blue and the sun stifles the inside of my collar.
The clouds come down upon me all at once. The colours fade to a pureness of white. I see your face. You smile as I reach out to wipe the joyous tear from your cheek.
Why is it impossible to reach the level of uncontrollable excitement and happiness that we took for granted as children? I had a class recently of children – who are younger than the teenagers I usually teach – and I was amazed and astonished with the level of joy that children can gain from the simplest of stimuli.
I’m not sure how or when the proverbial health & safety snowball was nudged off the top of Everest. However, what is clear is that it is now careening its way across Britain. I’m sure that – like any poison worth its salt – it has been a slow and largely untraceable development. I am more astute then most in documenting the change given my short ‘working holiday’ visits to England with yearly gaps in between. I have spent the majority of the last few years in Second & Third World, so returns to the First World are always met with utter confusion. The Blame-Someone-Else culture is by no means a British phenomenon, rather a First World one.
The hazy fog descends and the sinews slacken and ease. The mind relaxes and the world becomes your voyeuristic reality show. Through the haze you look at people in ways that you never looked before, or so it feels. A bike passes appearing to ride itself as a boy stands perched on its seat. Droves of camera-yielding cattle sport fanny-packs and chino shorts as they are herded from place to place by their leader. This cyborg-like creature – more fitting in a dystopic film noir – that is only capable of speech through the microphone on the right of her mouth. She waves a narrow, charcoal wand with a blue ribbon at its peak, like it was a leash.