Friday, 1 May 2009

The joy of writing

“That had an unexpected ring of probability to me. I knew exactly what she meant. It was like the poetry I made in my head, the tangled confusion of words that fell suddenly into a pattern, a clarity and you recognised it: that's it, that's right” Le Guin, Gifts
I love writing. I write for fun, I write to earn money, I write to explore my identity and world-view. I write because I want to write. At this point I have 5 different blogs, at least 3 of which are updated regularly, not because I need them, not because it's a logical division of different types of writing or ideas. Just because I can. Just because I love to write. Some days - like today - I don't care who reads what I write or if anybody reads it at all. Other days I long for some reaction or response. Sometimes I experiment with form and structure and tone. Sometimes the writing is basically stream of consciousness - or at least as close to stream of consciousness as coherent communication can be.

I don't just write on blogs. Although a lot of my writing is on blogs these days. I also write just to process thoughts. I have books and loose pages and random bits of paper where I scribble down ideas and thoughts and real stream of consciousness.

And sometimes I write fiction. I actually stumbled upon, today, the chapters of a little novel I've had floating around for a couple of years. I don't know if it's the kind of thing I would ever try and publish. But I enjoyed writing it. I haven't looked at it for ages. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. All the books and forums (fora?) on this type of thing say you should go away and leave your writing and then come back and look at it again. I know it helps with the writing - that is obvious after rereading some chapters. I didn't realise how much joy there would be in returning much later and editing. It's as if the characters were too close before, as if I, as the creator of those characters, was too attached to be objective. A little as if they were fledgelings birds and you're not ready to let them fly the first time, not ready to let them exist apart from yourself. But coming back to it now, I suddenly could. I could see them as independent characters and create a picture of them in my imagination based on what was written. Suddenly, instead of being frustrated with the effort of trying to create the characters in the writing, I could enjoy the characters that the writing had already created (irrespective of whether they match the characters I originally had in mind). I wonder how much more joyful it must be to track characters over years through a series.

I'm also feeling a lot more free to write today than I sometimes do. Oddly enough, this is partly as a result of having recently taken to reading the occasional classic. I recently reread Heart of Darkness and read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for the first time. They're broth intense and wonderful but they are really, ultimately, just the ordinary stories of ordinary people. It's reassuring. And inspiring, of course. As is the occasional blogging of the people I know who write so much more beautifully and wonderfully than I do.

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