And now down to business.
Plenty of us writers have a heap of trouble when it comes to turning off the negative brats who like to sit on our shoulders and tweak us with kick-in-the-gut comments. A friend told me about one. No matter what she writes, at some point, the brat will begin to whisper comments like, “Why bother, it’s all been said before.”
And it’s a good one. Smells rational. Makes some kind of sense, and listening to her tell me about her brat’s writing downer was enough to get my mind chewing on it. Forced me to take up time worrying instead of creating. Actually my tiny brat has spoken this exact kick-in-the-ass comment quite a few times.
It often happens when I’m hot into my writing time. The story is rolling along. I’m in cruise. The sun is bursting from happiness and sun spots and I’m feeling, really feeling what I’m writing. Big time empathizing going on with the characters and I’m right there in my scenes. I’ve forgotten all about plots and subplots and themes and getting my lane-way shovelled and where the story is going. Yahoo! I’m on a ride and it’s costing me nothing.
So, eventually I’ll stop typing and that’s the wedge he needs. He’s got some of my attention. I’ve heard him even though I’ve tried to ignore him. The floor is his while I try to dust him off.
“It’s all been said before. What’s the use? Hee, hee!”
“You’re going to die before you ever get anything worth writing down on paper. You started too late. What a waste of time, all that sitting on your ass. Didn’t you know you could have a stroke? You should concentrate more on wiggling your toes and getting the circulation going. Maybe you should be doing less writing and more exercise. Ernest Hemingway used to stand up when he was writing. And you’re ever going to be an Ernest Hemingway? Maybe you should write a play and not waste your time on this short story. Get a new computer. Study a course on, “It’s Not All Been Done Before”. Turn on the TV and watch the news. Join another writers’ club. You should be doing more networking. It would be helpful.”
On and on and on. Pow! Wouldn’t I like to.
But for my friend, one of the biggest ones is, “It’s all been said before. What more can you say?”
I say, a hell of a lot. And maybe it has all been said before but not by me and not in the way I say it. Which, unless I only use Newspeak, should give readers a little different slant on the topic.
And where, by the way, are all these magical manuscripts that have recorded all that I’m going to write? Specifically? Will they draw out the same emotions that my writing will? Anyway, don’t I write because I want to write? Right? Right? Then write. Right? Right.
Saying it with a playful attitude, of course. Because taking ourselves too seriously can kill the playful spirit which allows us the space to create what is deeply important to us. Serious play.
Of course this balance doesn’t happen overnight. But like so many things in life, if you want it too much and try too hard to get it, there is a good chance you’ll fail to achieve what it is you really desire and is important to you. It won’t turn out the way you want it to. I think romance works something like this. Of course, I’m no expert.
But hey, when you’re playing hockey, fishing, building a house, shopping, making love, skiing, whatever, do you say to yourself, “Why bother, it’s all been done before?” So have eating and drinking.
I’ve just had a scary thought. Maybe that’s what the players on the Toronto Maple Leafs team say when they’re playing. Frightening thought if you’re a Leafs’ fan.
Sidney Cox, in his book, “Indirections” wrote: “It is a waste to take on more gravity than you can develop the spiritual levity to have fun with.”
Enjoy the photos and the snow. We’re trying to. Yesterday, I attempted to drive to Baddeck but turned around and our laneway is buried at the moment. Our road hasn’t been ploughed in about five days.
I drove past a business in Middle River and saw at least five boxes that had brand new snow blowers in them. And the local gas station has run out of windshield washer fluid. Not surprised.