March 18, 2008

Writing Exercise: Creating Now for Later


There is a method I use to help inspire me when I have writer’s block. It’s simple to do and it is undisciplined: I simply write anything. An example of this is a piece I jotted down recently using the theme of unoriginality. My idea is that just about everything written has been said before and even expressed in the same manner by others. My only fault in writing this was that my subject was not narrow enough for the brevity of the paper.

To tighten the focal point of my exposition would have worked better. A precise argument is always the most effective; yet, my goal was not to create something publishable, but to cobble together an article which I might cannibalize later. To get my artistic juices flowing, I took an idea, rough on the surface, and ran with it. I am not proud of this composition; and, I am not anxious to publish it here. But, I think the purpose it serves is to demonstrate the decree I have been living by as a writer for most of my life; and, that is that a writer writes…always.

Many of my blog posts are rejuvenated works that I wrote years, even decades earlier. Much of my newer material is still evolving; maturing like bottled wine in the cellar until such time I find it necessary to take them out to breathe, and to be posted here. One of my recent blog posts was born of an extended poem I used as part of my training regimen back in the 1980s. The surest way I know that a story, poem, article, or essay I wrote is not finished is when I cannot come up with a suitable title for it. That is the case with the paper I will show you here. The idea is sturdy, but not fine enough. The last paragraph does not finish as strong as I would like it too, the imagery is almost non-existent, and I can’t find a proper name for this work. However, I like much of what I came up with and I intend to store it away in my notebooks and produce it again at such time when I believe I can tackle my treatise with the skill and voracity it deserves.

For today, this piece serves me well as a catalyst which propels me forward and keeps my literary voice honed. The working title of this workout is “In-distinction.” Perhaps other writers employ similar methods to keep themselves sharp, and I imagine all of us have volumes of unpalatable material saved on legal pads, loose leaf paper, and their computers. At great risk, I offer you mine here.


In-distinction

It’s difficult to grasp that there are almost six billion souls in the world today. Staggering still is the notion that there were billions more who lived before them. I am one; one man who feels the echoes of them all. My writing, as sparse and understated as any deficient poet, can merely express my own thoughts and meanderings let alone take on the accounting of civilization.

What I sense at my core is a ripple; several of them perhaps, and they spread from my heart to the tips of the hairs on my neck causing me to shudder. There is a spark to my stuttering; realizing that I speak for myself, yet others articulate the same things. Without ever meeting these copycat spirits both alive and dead who suggest my own ideas and relate my own calamities as they all experienced the same; I see now, I am not distinctive.

My mind is not my own as it was hewn from vast cosmic material as indestructible as God Almighty. Scraps of flesh from the departed are snug among the particles which make up my identity. We share humility, shame, agony, joy, selflessness, curiosity, delight, jealousy, and shades and shades of tempered sensations which repeat themselves across the eons on this worldly theater.

I can tell you about Jesus! Believe, believe, believe and then enlighten everyone. Write about my devotion, my conservatism, and my faith in spirituality over organized religion, and then pen my views. Won’t that make a compelling book? You wrote it already, didn’t you?

My thoughts are not yours. These words, they’re copyrighted, original, unstained by another’s pen. Whose work came first? Feel pain? I do. Want love? I am in love. Are you grieving? Here I am, let me tell you a story. My story, is it authentic? Do I remember it or does my great-grandfather? Ask my grandchildren as they will evoke this when they are born.

Food, sex, television, sports, beer, cars, music; I can write about those things. My novels appear significant; tales of men and women committed and their families slain. What about adoration and casualty? Did I say all of that with seventy six thousand words? How novel.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll discover a secret vault with all of the passions and clever schemes no other human ever experienced before. Have you seen it? My Forefathers did. I remember.



Maybe it isn’t that bad after all? Pay careful attention, because there is at least one line in there which is headed for a blog post coming up in the near future. I can hear the complaints already: “What do you mean, more re-runs?” No, not re-runs; just the same old thing, but better.

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29 comments:

Fishinyourface said...

I dont have much experience in writing seeing as I am only 18, however your writing to me is wonderful. The description I leave you with of my opinion is however feeble but I want not to state my opinion unless asked because to me a writers works is essentially based on that person. My efforts are futile to express myself, so I must stop will I am a head. I have one question, what would you tell someone if they told you this? I love to write but when I do, it puts me in a state of mind that I wish not to be in. It isn't bad however I seem to get so caught up in this one piece if I dont stop and put it down it will drive me insane.

Multifuncional said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Impressora e Multifuncional, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://impressora-multifuncional.blogspot.com. A hug.

Kristyn said...

I really enjoyed reading this, Mike! I sort of write on random topics as well, but mostly, I write beginnings. I know, it sounds a little strange, but I write beginnings. Beginnings I cannot possibly commit to because they have no story to tell beyond what has already been said in that paragraph. Maybe someday I'll go back and give them life, but for now, I have a file with a heck of a lot of beginnings. It's funny really, because for me, meaningful beginnings are the hardest part of story telling.

Happy Easter and very best,
Kristyn

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Fishinyourface,
Thank you for your kind words about my writing and thanks for taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment. As for only being 18 and not having a lot of writing experience, that does not mean anything as you have your whole life to write if you want to. Thanks again. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Multifunctional,
Thank you for your nice comments about my blog and for adding me to your blog roll. I hope to add more new and interesting articles to my blog soon. Thanks again for stopping by. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Kristyn,
Beginnings, beginnings beginnings, we all have them. Some of us even have terrific endings to. The trick is getting the beginning and the end to meet with a strong middle, and to make that middle as brief and interesting as possible. Maybe you can a publish a book of your beginnings and I can publish one of all of my meanderings? Hehe. Thanks Kristyn, -Mike

Swubird said...

Mike:

I like it all. And I do believe that someday you'll find that secret vault, and when you do, we'll see greatness.

Happy trails my friend.

Jack Payne said...

Wow, Mike. You've proven that random is random is random. But, I guess, if you brainstorm with yourself, and win the battle, a nugget of a blog piece might come out of all this randomness.

Anna said...

Mike 'Maybe it isn’t that bad after all?' - no it is not bad at all, it is great. In my profession (engineering), lol, I call this brainstorming, but instead of looking at the sky and day dream I write everything now. Not really in the poetic way, but sometimes comes out like human being wrote that, lol. Thanks for the education, and Happy Easter to you too. Anna :)

Peter said...

Hi! Happy Easter to you and your family.

Take Care,
Peter

P.S. Swubird is coming along really well and makes a fine addition to the "Midnight Wanderers"!

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Swubird,
"I like it all. And I do believe that someday you'll find that secret vault, and when you do, we'll see greatness."

You are very kind, sir. I appreciate it. I'll have more time to visit your blog and others again soon. Thanks for your loyalty. -Mike

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Jack,
"if you brainstorm with yourself, and win the battle, a nugget of a blog piece might come out of all this randomness."

That's how I get much of what I write, by brainstorming. Thanks Jack. -Mike

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Anna,
You're an engineer?

"In my profession (engineering), lol, I call this brainstorming..."

Wow, you're way too smart to read anything I write. Thank you Anna, for reading and for your loyalty. I hope you had a happy Easter. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Peter,
Happy Belated Easter to you and your family. Thank you for reading and for your loyalty.

-Mike.

Anna said...

Hey Mike, we cannot compare, its not apple to apple, lol. I rather read your writing, then read numbers all day long, its get so confusing and sometimes I don't know what to make out of it, lol, and I am glad the numbers is not all I have to do. Mind you sometimes I do like numbers, otherwise I would not be in this profession. But I tell you one think, I always had a great respect for every profession on this world, becuase what I cannot do, you can do or someone else can do. You know how hard it would be if every one of us knew everything, lol, we would not have enough years in our life. So Mike trust me I will be here at your blog, may be not that often, but I will be here....Thanks, Anna :)

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Anna,
"So Mike trust me I will be here at your blog, may be not that often, but I will be here....Thanks, Anna :)"

I am the one who should be thanking you for being so loyal and reading my blog. Thank you!
-Mike.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Mike, free writing is an excellent way to discover one's muse. :D I have a writer friend with contract signed and book coming out who free writes a lot and she has some amazing writing sessions afterward. Her whole fiction project reveals itself in a couple of days of mad writing.

Super post!!!

Hugs, JJ

J. C. said...

Thanks so much for sharing, this method have reminded me of one writer who said that every time he find himself having a writer blog he just sits down and write, exactly as you have said - anything.
Writing is has to do something with magic, and eventually something must come out.
Great tips thanks for sharing.

Anna said...

Hey Mike just paying you a friendly visit, lol, looks like you are enjoying your Easter very much. If you wait long enough to the end of April, may be we can re-celebrate it again, as my Ukr Easter still to come, lol. Hope all is well. Anna :)

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Nature Nut/JJ Loch,

"I have a writer friend with contract signed and book coming out who free writes a lot and she has some amazing writing sessions afterward."

Congratulations to your friends on her success! Free writing helps a lot, and it also is a constructive way to find your voice. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. -Mike

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi JC,

"this method have reminded me of one writer who said that every time he find himself having a writer blog he just sits down and write, exactly as you have said - anything."

As you can see, this method is almost universally applied by writers. I am happy to discover this in my own conversations with other writer's. Thank you very much for your contribution and for reading my post. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Anna,

"Hey Mike just paying you a friendly visit, lol, looks like you are enjoying your Easter very much."

Hi Anna,
I did enjoy Easter until a family member was hospitalized, and still is in the hospital. I won't be doing much in the way of writing until he is released and getting better. Yet, I do very much want to thank you for thinking of me and for taking tyhe time to visit my blog when it appears that I am not doing much of anything with it. Thank you, Anna. have a great weekend, and i look forward to blogging again soon. -Mike.

Poetikat said...

I just got chills with this line: "Scraps of flesh from the departed are snug among the particles which make up my identity." Do you ever have those moments of excitement, or let's call it epiphany, where something titillates you so much that you know you can't possibly plumb its depths because it is beyond ponderability? That's what happened there. This microcosm of ideas and connections and fascination and excitement just hit me in a tidal wave with your words. That's never happened to me with a blog before.

(By the way, I have the makings of a book stored away, partially on an old floppy disk for which I don't even have the technology anymore, and partially on paper. Your post prompts me to attempt it once more. Thank you Mr. Grudge.)

Kat

Mike French said...

Hello mate. I to find the best way to get going is just to sit down and see what spills out.

It's a bit like trying to get motivated to go for a walk when you are sunk into the sofa. You know the feeling: you haven't the energy and really can't be bothered but you know you should get some air.
Then once you're actually out there you find new energy and enjoy yourself.

Same with writing sometimes.

Although most days when I am in a writing season, I can't wait to get down to it and get all excited like a little kid about to get all his fav sweeties. (That's Candy Mike right?!)

Anna said...

Mike no problem. Hope all works out for you and your family. Take care, and now for blogging that should be the last thing on your mind. Anna :)

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Poetikat,
(By the way, I have the makings of a book stored away, partially on an old floppy disk for which I don't even have the technology anymore, and partially on paper. Your post prompts me to attempt it once more.)
You can purchase a relatively inexpensive external floppy drive which are manufactured almost expressly for folks like you with legacy media and imprtant documents on them. query friends, neighbors, relatives, anyone you know and see if they have a computer with a floppy drive before you take the plunge and buy one. Also, the library typical has computers which are a bit out of date and there's a good chance that their public computers have flobby drives in them. What is important is that your noted and other items for your novel are on the disk and you need them. I am so glad you are taking the time to write again.

"Your post prompts me to attempt it once more. Thank you Mr. Grudge"

No, thank YOU for coming here and reading my blog. The inspiration lies with you, and you have the talent and the ability to make your story come to life. I appreciate your kind words and you have helped inspire me to continue my dogged effort to see my novels published. Thank you Poetikat. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Oh boy...I really do have to proof read my comments...

flobby disks? lol

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Anna,
"Take care, and now for blogging that should be the last thing on your mind. Anna :)"

Thanks for your support Anna. I hope to be blogging again soon. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Mike,
"Although most days when I am in a writing season, I can't wait to get down to it and get all excited like a little kid about to get all his fav sweeties. (That's Candy Mike right?!)"

You Mike (M1) I think we may be a lot alike when it comes to writing. there are times when i go for months writing everything and anything. Even my e-mails are poignant and descriptive. But, when my life becomes bogged down and life throws me a curve, i sometimes lose my drive and fall intoo a well. MY dad's health is poor, and I have no perspective on my inner voice. Everything is emotional with me and I cannot step back and take a breath. Juts about everything I attempt to write is gloomy and depressing and my work is suffering. The only thing I've been able to concentrate on is submitting to serach engines. I did watch your movie on "Go! Smell The Flowers!" and I am impressed, mate. Your success there is fabulous, and you are a talented filmamaker, my friend. Now, give yourself a pat on the back and get yourself a bowl of CANDY to celebrate...lol. Thanks, Michael.

-Mike (M2)