Thursday, October 20, 2011

So I'm a writer now.

The four thoughts that brought about my rekindled love of writing:

First, I was reading about a great woman polymath named Blanche Ames.  When Blanche died, her daughter wrote, "For her to have an idea was to act."
Which meant to me, instead of thinking about how I'm going to do something, or how much I want to, if I have an idea I should just act on it.  It's freed me up creatively a lot.  I stopped writing "to-do" notes to myself in my journals, and when I did that it freed up all that time and space and creative energy so I could do real writing.  Substantial writing, the kind with ideas.

            Second, I started reading.  I made a friend at the 24-hour comic who suggested that I read some books by Terry Pratchett.  So I went to the library and grabbed some and it turns out the guy’s a wordsmith and a genius.
A passage in Pratchett’s book Mort blew my mind.  In this scene, a band of muggers tries to attack the main character, who promptly uses magic to disappear.  It reads as follows:

“Well,----me,” he said, A----ing wizard.  I hate----ing wizards!"
“You shouldn’t----them, then,” muttered one of his henchmen, effortlessly pronouncing a row of dashes.

I cracked up for like... an hour. That one little passage reminded me of the power of the written word (and it’s barely the tip of the iceberg with Mr. Pratchett).  I can do anything with language.  There's so much room for humor, wordplay and philosophy.  Upon having this epiphany, I elected to do some writing of my own.

            Third I was talking to my friend Sam about this film he was dreaming —a satirical re-remake of footloose, featuring robots and dragons.  I convinced him that, even though the story was un-filmable, he should still write it… as a short story!  It struck both of us as an incredibly novel (pun intended) concept - if you can't film a story you can still WRITE it!  We were both a bit too surprised, really.  I guess that should be common sense.

Fourth, I always struggle to rationalize what my niche is in the arts because I try so many things.  Even though I try not to be, I am still haunted by the notion that I should pick one medium.
One day I was thinking that to become truly great at any art, or at least enough to call oneself professional, one must make a lot of sacrifices.  Not only must one put in thousands and thousands of hours of practice, but one must put up with learning all the ins-and-outs of the form and its corresponding industry.
I thought, "Even though I should be free to experiment with as many different art forms as I want, I expect that my true calling lies in whatever thing I’ve never been unwilling to sacrifice for."
I asked myself, "What mediums are there where I habitually, instinctively put in all the effort to improve, and I haven't ever gotten tired?"  …That's actually a very hard question for me to answer.  I've gotten very tired of many things in my life. 
I thought back to all the hours I’ve put into becoming advanced at drawing and painting, and the fact that I can still sit down and be happy to draw (though I do it much less often than I want to these days).  I realized that in spite of my long and fulfilling excursions into various media, the good ol' traditional visual arts is still up there near the top of my list.
But then I thought about it some more and determined that I must be even more obsessed with writing.  I've always been unrelenting with language (hence why I write such longwinded blog posts).  I care so deeply about communication that I always draft my thoughts out in full sentences in my head.  I constantly labor over new turns of phrase, to an almost unhealthy extent.  I’m famous among my pals as a grammar and spelling Nazi, a lover of puns and a poet.  I refer to visual art mediums as "art languages," and the greatest compliment I've ever received on my art is when a friend of mine called it "eloquent" (which is actually a language word).  It’s only right that I begin to explore my literary side in earnest, and write more stories just for the sake of writing.  Doing so will orient my life more properly in relation to my ideal self and express something in my soul.

So those five* reasons combined and so that's why I'm writing stuff now.

(*while I may love language, mathematics is not my strong suit)

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