We are put on this earth to create something. It is our duty to bring a bit of heaven down below and fortify others to do the same. Never stop. Never compare. I do this all too much and have realized lately that it’s a futile gesture. Comparing and doubting provides the negative juju. It implants unnecessary fear and stops that lovely flow that draws itself from The Big Wherever. The Big Wherever. That’s what I love to call it. It’s something you can’t describe because it’s not our business to describe it. It’s somewhere in the ether or the heavens. You can call it God or Jesus. You can call it a portal to a fertile source. But we are here to create something wonderful. That could be a child, a building, a car, a dress, a yoga class and baseball game an article in a magazine – anything. Multiply it until you’ve filled the world with a line of new thoughts, visions, clothes, words, books, ideas. We need to bring it down from The Big Wherever because that’s our purpose in life. Don’t stop the flow. Just be. It will come.
This is a disjointed post today. Writing is so weird. You come up with ideas, and then you articulate them into words and sentences to form thoughts and images, to extract meaning and crystallize human emotions with a witty phrase or retort. You know what’s also weird? When other writers have to create a role for themselves. Examples: She’s the crazy goth girl who writes poetry about cutting and bleeding. He’s the damaged emotional emo nerd who uses comic book semantics while fighting off robots from outer space; She’s the fucked up girl with daddy issues whose anger alienates everyone, including her readers, so she pontificates about how society sucks.
Oh reader and fellow writer, there’s a little bit of that in all of us. Especially if we’re young or mid-aged precious little snowflakes stuck in the snowstorm of life. Try plowing that snowdrift.
Tapping once again into Hannah Horvath, our flawed millennial heroine – through her, we see how artists and writers can paint ourselves into a persona. Hannah’s Iowa world is filled with writers who are self critical beings projecting their insecurities upon others to sustain their own frail confidence. It’s a microcosmic version of what most writers face every day – not only in classes or workshops – but in the comment section of Gawker, Jezebel or any website where thoughts and reactions unleash a spillage of nitpicky, unnecessary, snarky, hard edged commentary written by someone hiding behind an anonymous screen name. Today’s writing is not only a creative process explaining the world around us and existential conundrums. Today’s writing can sometimes be a meeting of trolls with a platform to crap upon anyone who makes a typo. You have to have skin as thick as a brick to let these blogger foes get to you.
This is why I’m conflicted over Hannah’s drunken speech to her fellow workshop cohorts on last Sunday’s “Girls”. I loved it – because we all want to say it. Yet, in calling out everyone around her for being fake and pretentious, she herself has carved a little persona for herself – self righteous brat who thinks she’s being correct by being brutally honest and alienated herself in the process. Gotta give her credit – she’s trolling her workshop mates face to face and not behind a pseudonym or online handle. And in turn, Hannah said plenty of things one wishes to say to the snarks on Facebook or on Amazon or on Jezebel, but the point is – why bother? In doing it, you fall onto the same level as those you’re verbally pummeling. I get detached irony (I’m guilty of it), but when does it become too insulting – too….bullying? I love Lena Dunham for making Hannah this way. We don’t have to adore our protagonist. People are flawed. Writers young and old can be tetchy. It’s a growing process, and we’re all growing no matter what age.
Writers, dear fellow writers. Let’s just all be ourselves. Let the words flow. When inspiration hits, just go with it. Don’t block it out. If it doesn’t come, don’t beat yourself up.
There’s something unexplainable about the force of creativity. It seems to come from nowhere. Everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan to The Decemberists, Wilco, Sia, JayZ – they all create something that provides meaning for the universe. But they cannot explain the process. The process and the source doesn’t really belong to them. So, there’s no reason to let the haters or the lovers get to us. Keep it even keel. Enjoy the creative source and write the good write. Tell the good tale. Express the bad if you can. Don’t question it. And unless you’re vying to become a public figure with a PR campaign to bring you over the edge to the conscious of a public audience – don’t get lost in a persona. Bob Dylan did that, and he had to explain to journalists and stalkers for the last fifty years that he is not what he seems. He’s just a human being who’s a conduit to a rich source.
And if you have to tell someone they are a pretentious dope, don’t say it to their face. Take that energy and write a story about it where your antagonist is a big asshole. That can be a very enjoyable read. I wish Hannah would have done that instead of eating brownie mix, watching TV, chatting with Eliah, getting drunk and handing a verbal moral mirror to the faces of her fellow writers. Maybe she wouldn’t have her bike stolen all the time.
Peace and love, winter snow birds!
It happened again today. The celestial being we writers like to refer to as “The Muse” visited my brain while in an early morning meeting. It seems the earlier I wake up, the more clear my brain. This makes ideas, words and stories suddenly flow through the spigot that had been blocked for weeks. Yet, it always seems to happen when there are people around me, in a conference room, talking about negotiations and output deals. In between looking at emails on my iPad and thinking of plans for the day, comes a whole new idea for a book! And not only a book, but a writing project that actually has an audience I can define.
Feverishly, descreetly, I jot down titles for chapters that I feel will become the chapters of my book. It occurs to me that my entire life has been spent creating this possible novel. The disappointments, the varied jobs, each have contributed toward something that adorable little hobbit The Muse thoughtfully decided to whisper in my mind grapes (see: Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock). Now, after playing coy and not showing up to the table each time I open a blank Word document. Now, after, committing to writing each day, ready for the flow, only to be stood up like a cheap date. Now, the ideas flow. Now, while I need to pay attention to my day job. Okay. I’ll take it now. Bring it, muse. Bring it while my mind is open and relaxed, trance-like and have some down time before I need to do the job I’m being paid for. I have other responsibilities, you know.
Writing and planning a career in self publishing has been like tending to a winter garden. This past year has been spent toiling the earth, fortifying the soil with words, stories, ideas, structure, plans – each element of the creative process tended to on a day by day process, until content is actually formed – usable, publishable content. Yet, the growth of the writing career I’m cultivating is slow. The dirt is looking healthy and moist for growth, but the seeds are still hatching down below. Today, while listening to the clicks and static of mobile phones on a Polycom, it seems that garden might see some buds come spring!
Funny how that works.