Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What I'm Writing


I have a confession to make—I’m a lazy writer. Remember when you were a kid riding bikes, and you’d eagerly charge up a hill only to give up mid-hump? That’s me. I ride flights of fancy only to burn out before the plane lands safely. My plane usually ends in an almost wreck. And the thing that frustrates me is that I have only the best intentions of finishing my work. But, no, it never goes down like that. Hours, days, occasionally weeks will past before I get this ache that I must finish that draft in order for me to make it to the next day. It gets to be a heavy load that needs doing away with.

It’s deceptively simple, the business of rewriting. Tuck a little here, add a comma there. It ain’t necessarily so. It’s like surgery. Break a vein here, move quick before clotting, scar tissue, fractures, mending heat. In a word, it’s a mess. Rewriting is a lot like this. What sane person wants to relive those moments that you’ve buried years ago? Only writers are crazy enough to do this again and again without the promise of fame and fortune.

There used to be this quiet that came over me whenever I scribbled something in my notebook. It could be an image, something simple like apple core turning brown that sits in the margin of my page looking beautiful and this voice will come out of nowhere saying well aren’t you going to finish that? And what are you really trying to say?

These days I try to quiet those voices some. I’m learning that each of us have our own personality, our own rhythm, and thus, our own way of rewriting. Some of us cannot sleep until they’ve gotten their story almost completely out of their system. I belong more or less to the intuitive lot. I don’t know where the piece is going; I just rock back and forth enjoying the ride, tasting the river. Of course, my breed of writer is the most frustrating for publishers, editors, and agents because it’s hard for us to follow deadlines.

Right now I’m trying to fulfill an end-of-year freelance writing assignment, and whip some of my poems into shape in hopes of putting together a chapbook that would be done if I could just finish a few poems and put them together!!! It had the potential to be a real masterpiece (chuckle.) If I’m steadfast, I’ll have it ready to read at the staff reading next month, Sunday, January 11th .

2 comments:

restaurantrefugee said...

Writers never finish a work; they merely abandon it.

lacochran said...

Love the image. :) And your thoughtful confession.

Maybe that's why I like blogging. Inspiration hits. I write it. I noodle with it. I hit publish. No stress, no stress, no stress.

You are taking on a more intense challenge. Good for you! Have you tried the process of just free- form writing with no censor? You write for however long (3 minutes, say) and you write whatever comes to mind. No censoring. Just writing. You may be surprised at what you see if you try this a few times.