Writing is intimate. It is art on a good day and maybe a glimpse into my soul, my persona, what moves and motivates me, or the belly button lint I am unraveling for the day. I’ve seen that in the works of others who I read consistently, the person who occasionally slips in. They are the shadow lurking in the back of the room, only noticed because you happened to glance up at just the right angle and see them. It isn’t much, just a hint, because art, whatever the medium, isn’t about the person creating. It is about the reflection of the something greater that the artist has received and their expression of that.
I used to think only great writers had that ability. That when I sat down to write all my idiosyncrasies or that of my family and friends would end up on a page. My world is small and boring; of course, I’d borrow from life. The borrowing isn’t from a friend’s life or the person down the street – although they may have some great stuff to fill a chapter or two. The old adage – Write what you know – doesn’t apply to characters or plot in the mechanical aspect of know. This is what I am learning with each writing bump and bruise. Write from knowing. That place of intuition and this just feels right. Here is where writing is its most intimate. The grand poohbah on high is Life itself. Life is the greatest art we all create and share.
It is the idea that floats down from the Ether and sticks in my craw. The character flashed in a nanosecond, the words strung together, the color that just won’t leave that demands to be used. This thing, this idea or string stays, ferments, wants to grow beyond the scope of what it is because it already knows what it wants to be. We are obliged to follow. We bump up against it, say excuse me or dare to become enmeshed in its being as it takes us along for the ride. As a writer, I’ve learned that it is the Ether that stares back from the pages, not me the person. The Ether dictates how a story goes, what direction it takes, the characters involved and the outcome. Good writers know this whether or not they write by the seat of their pants or plot everything out beforehand. They are intimate with the work, let their barriers fall away, dissolve their excuses and fears and ride the ride wherever it takes them. Much like life, I suppose. -TL