February 13, 2006 - 3:28 am 4 Comments

So maybe I will be a writer. It’s a possibility. I have some passable stuff in my portfolio now. My thoughts turn to this: I should hone my words and practice writing some of the detailed and lovely description which, to me, makes writing so good. I’m re-reading the Kinsey Milhone books and realizing that Sue Grafton paints pictures with words, in her terse, film noir style. I admire that. So I get a few phrases which percolate up from my subconscious and I am afraid to set them down on paper. Maybe I’ve plagiarized the idea from somewhere. Nah, probably not. More likely for my fear: Maybe I’ll plagiarize from myself somewhere down the road. If I start to write, how soon before I run out? Am I a replenish-able resource? Will new words fill the empty space inside the lake of Me when the old ones trickle out? Or is it stagnant, dead water, smelling funky, moss growing on my interior dictionaries and thesauruses, their pages bloating up in the muck and becoming unreadable?

I think what I need to do is more practice writing. Mental exercises. Get used to the craft again. Understand that there are infinity words out there with as many ways to string them together. Come to terms with the fact that all stories have already been told, but we keep reading them anyway because some authors make them fun. I want to be the fun author, and therefore I will practice. If I were talking about a piano, I’d be doing scales: do re mi fa sol la ti do. What’s the typewriter equivalent? The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?

Yeah I might be jumping the gun, but I do have things in my future that I am both sure and unsure about, and this skill set would be helpful with all of them. Might not get me far if the world blows up and we need survival skills, but I guess for that I can shoot guns and raise children. And make up stories to tell people around the campfire.

Beware, I’m letting my imagination off its leash. Send out an APB for a growling mass which is bitter for having been caged up since 1987. It should be considered armed with well-honed wit and extremely dangerous. If you approach it, give it chocolate and it will be your friend.

(ETA: It’s only after the second dose of Chardonnay that I tell you I never wrote anything “real” from the day my mother died in January 1987. Whether I needed her input or just lost my nerve I will never know, but I have a mental image of her ghost twiddling its fingers and waiting for me to get off my ass and do it. She thought I was a writer. I thought I might have been a writer, but when my direct backup system was knocked so quickly from under me I began to doubt everything. EVERYTHING. As in, ’twas death that taught me God was dead. And 10 years later, ’twas death that taught me God was alive and had his hand out for me. Ok, the wine is getting loquacious, and I should probably go to bed before it embarrasses me further.) (It was beautiful, though.)

4 Responses to “Writing”

  1. Aunt Vancie Says:

    I think you write very well, for what that is worth……don’t know if you remember but I had a very brief career as a high school english teacher a thousand years ago…worst job I ever had and I was smart enough to realize I was a very BAD teacher

  2. michigan Says:

    everything that you just said is exactly how i feel. only i am totally afraid that i just have absolutely nothing to say.

    i am not imaginative enough to actually make up stories. “write what you know,” they say, but if i did i would be disowned by my family and probably my friends and maybe even fired from my job. (also recounting the major events in my life tends to reduce me to a quivering mass desperately seeking therapy.)

    i am not well-versed enough in current events or politics or religion or technology or pretty much anything except giving birth to write non-fiction. and i don’t have the credentials to write about giving birth.

    ho hum…

  3. michigan Says:

    also i can relate to the part about a major event like losing your mom shaking your foundation and bottling you up creatively. i have not considered myself a writer pretty much since r. was born.