Sunday, October 27, 2019


If you haven't noticed, I haven't been sharing much of my personal writing lately. Who am I kidding, I haven't been doing much personal writing in the last two months. The beginning of the school year can do that to you. Plus, I really haven't had much to say. I've written some things here and there, but it's nothing worth sharing. (There's a post about that in me, I just haven't written it yet.) I've been writing a lot for the last six weeks despite school, but nothing coherent or unified. It's stuff I never thought I could or would write...and no, I'm not telling you. In that time, some of the threads that will make up "The Epic Fantasy I Wasn't Going To Write" came into view along with some new, very different ideas.

I don't have a solid project here, just ideas floating around that need some structure. My MG story is stuck and stalled. I just can't get it moving. It could be the sense of urgency I feel about the story. That should motivate me and it's not. I want to try NANOWRIMO again, but I don't know what project I want to do. But that's not really what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write about brooding.

Last week was a shit week. Not worth getting into specifics, but it put me in a weird, miserable place. I stopped listening to the book I was listening to and tried to find an appropriate soundtrack to accompany my brooding. I settled on the new album by Tool. It's fantastic (Pink Floyd and Zeppelin had a baby that was raised by Metallica). And it was perfect music for brooding.

When you think about it, brooding is just a quieter, cooler sounding way of saying whining quietly. It's actually kind of considerate when you think about it. I was having a conversation with someone this week and said, "I'm given for dark moods." It was something cool I used to say when I was younger to sound mysterious. ("Why is everything a shade of gray?" was another popular one from me.) There's some truth to it. I get stuck in my own head, letting things roll around like the sand in the oyster until there's a giant pearl rolling around, distracting me from almost all thoughts. It's been like that for a few days now. It can be dangerous, like the Langston Hughes poem "Harlem" says, "Or does it explode?" (I know he was talking about something very different, but it still means something to me.) And somehow,  despite all this brooding, writing is happening.

Yesterday, I was sitting on the porch watching the kids (we call that a motif in the literature business), writing. I had written seven pages in my notebook in the previous day and a half. That was more than I'd written in a long time. Granted most of it is garbage and the meandering ramblings of a maniac, but you know what they say about "Shitty First Drafts."

I wound up writing a few pages of the MG project. Plus I wrote a few pages of the thing that will never see the light of day. Some of the nebulous "epic fantasy" ideas are becoming clearer while I'm developing some ideas of how to fix an old story that had its chances and failed to garner attention. I'm contemplating doing something I didn't think I'd do with something else. It's kind of exciting. Not like "whoo-hoo" exciting...I'm brooding, remember?

Maybe accessing the darkness is what I needed to jump start what I'm doing. I don't write "dark." Sure, GIRL IN THE PICTURE is kind of dark and some of my other work has dark moments, but I wouldn't call anything I write "dark." I've always run from the dark, avoiding it. I've stepped away from writing when I've felt my life was entering a dark place because I didn't want it reflected in what I was doing. Maybe that's been a mistake. Maybe I needed to embrace those dark moods and brood a bit. Let that pearl grow and grow.

Plenty of authors talk about the darkness and how they use it to write. King, Murakami, Pratchett, Gaiman, Whedon, Twain.

Maybe in that darkness and brooding, when quiet and not distracted by all the noise, you can find the things buried deepest in you and bring them out. They aren't always what you want to see, but sometimes they are what you need to see and that's when you can turn that into what you need.

1 comment: said...

Once again, I've stolen wholesale from you. Or, put in a better light, drawn inspiration from what you've written. My post is up at the blog (October 30, 2019).

I like that you have something you're writing which stays in your drawer, at least for now. I have several of those, which people might find hard to believe given how much I share (too much?) on the blog. Still, there are things I can say so much better when I say them only to myself.

Sorry you've had a rough stretch of it lately. I like thinking of you on the porch watching the kids at play, your notebook and pen at hand, and in that moment, perhaps, a bit of lightness in your heart. That's what I like to think of.

Keep writing, man.