Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Monday, March 17, 2014

always choosing.

There seems to be so much advice lately in magazines and journals, in craft books and on blogs, about how to discipline oneself to write. Even the target web ads that pop up in the sidebar seem to find me: WE KNOW YOU HAVE A STORY IN YOU! APPLY TODAY
SO-AND-SO UNIVERSITY, LOW-RES MFA---BORROW MORE $$$ 

How to approach the page, the head space/mental state one needs to be in, the point when inspiration hits, whether or not an individual is a “real writer”--àTAKE THIS TEST & FIND OUT--- it's all covered. 

I asked a friend who also writes, “So, how do you do it?”

Edward Hopper, New York Movie
“Well, say it’s a cold, snowy walk back to my apartment one day. I go home and write a scene about that. But instead, set in a different time period, with different characters, and there is some sort of conflict related to the miserable weather. Then later, I have a bowl of steaming pea soup to warm up from that long walk. And what do you know, so does Character X, Y, or Z, because that soup is fresh in my mind and it’s what I can write most accurately about in that moment.”

Of course, my friend has to pick-and-choose what she can borrow from her life and make relevant to the story she’s working on. And that’s a discipline in itself; knowing when to zero in on a detail or array of details to make one’s writing believable for an audience. What I like about her approach is how natural she makes it sound, organic and unforced. I know it’s not a seamless process, and that she gets frustrated every now and again. But the fact that her mind is trained (or maybe this is a born gift--- still a matter of debate in certain circles, of course) to distinguish elements and experiences in her everyday as applicable or pertinent to her art, tells me that creativity is essential, if not central to her life. 

Why do we keep spending time analyzing and insisting that a right way exists when it comes to art? Because while we are wasting time “trying to get it”---the formula, the routine, the label, the what-have-you--- there are people like my friend, who’s art is so integrated with her life, that she will never have a shortage of material to draw from. It boils down to choice: she can choose to write, or choose not to write. But if she chooses in favor of, often enough, eventually she’ll have a solid body of work and a well-savored life to look back on. 

this guy gets it too:


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