Sunday, June 10, 2012


Chances run high to extreme in favor of your need to approach a writing session, be it handwritten on a legal pad, or composed on a computer, with a strong resident emotion.  This feeling may run the gamut from eager enthusiasm to a growling desire to take on and thus reduce in stature some notion, institution, person, or random thing you encounter in the warp and woof of your day.  This growl may come from a sudden, unanticipated focus on something you’ve read, overheard, or seen.

The feeling may be one of sadness, regret, anticipation, or nostalgia.  Not much difference to you which feeling is driving the fire engine so long as it is one of these shall we say heightened, accented feelings?  Yes, let us say it, because coming to work cold or flat is a Petri dish for procrastination, for checking news sources, leafing through some of the book review publications on your subscription list, even checking available web sites to see if there is a decent crossword puzzle to approach.

Coming to work flat means the need to find a particular front-rank feeling, then buy into it, at which point, the collision courses you’d avoid while driving a vehicle or taking your evening walk catch hold and you can hear the screeching of brakes or the excited rush to get the words down, and the tingle of fear that you might not be able to write quickly enough to keep up with the details now trying to hop on to the momentum in ways reminding you of the passengers hanging from trains and trolleys in India.

This realization is one you’ve had for a long span of time, but it seems to want to evade being stored as permanent memory, wanting instead to be greeted whenever necessary like some long lost relative who has found the way back home.  The most significant reason you can think of for this quirk is the sense that you fear you might forget, thus you continue to discover the equivalent of gold at Stutter’s Mill, boring the hell out of those about you.

In the broadest sense possible, you’re feeling most comfortable when you approach a writing session prepared for work, which may and often does include being shaved and dressed, filled with some kind of propellant that you can rely upon to carry you ahead, beyond time, space, and causation as they relate to this world you share with so many others, and into a world you’ve created with its own tides and times.

You may have some social event early morning or later in the evening.  The sessions may be broken by the need to prepare for a class or some editorial chore where your attention is required to be present in ways other than when you are immersed in your own world.

End of day will come and you will feel the splendid tingle of overexposure to persons, but the persons will have been your own creations, their scurrying about to add dimension to themselves being a part of the drain on you and your patience.

Days where you are essentially patient fit into this reckoning of the attitudes you need to pursue your writing.  Patience is an overall valuable tool for your dealings with other persons and with yourself; it is not necessarily so valuable when it comes to pursuing a story.  In fact, impatience is a pretty good launching pad.

You’re impatient to find out what they do.  You may think you’re being helpful, but when you are, you begin to sense a lackluster quality creeping onto the computer screen.  You begin to find yourself crossing out words on your note pad.

How nice to generalize with the observation that a story takes as long as it needs, requires as much effort as it requires, cannot be reduced to a recipe or formula.  Even there, you find problems:  Story requires more than enough, more than you can see going in or while you’re there.  The Mars and Moon probes send reports back to earth.  You send occasional reports—well, drafts—back from story.

The results need to be checked with care.  There’s more work to be done than you could have guessed.

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