The subject of writing (real story writing) has been on my mind lately. My wonderful friend, Invisible Lizard, has thought about it extensively; much more so than I ever have, really. So I was surprised to find character studies and possible story outlines when I recently trawled through some of my old papers. (They consisted of poems, stories, cartoons and loads of one-liners.)
For me, the love of writing (and reading) came from the words used. I loved the sounds I could put together and the picture I could create in your head. But storytelling did not grip me in the same way. Still, I ‘recently’ sent Invisible Lizard a story I wrote. He was very kind and encouraging, saying all the things I could do to improve the storytelling feature of the story.
But here’s the hard truth- I sent him a crappy story. It wasn’t well thought out and it was written even more poorly than that. Because I was afraid to send him a true creation of mine. I have one. It’s tucked away inside of the computer, safe from eyes which could see through it and recognize its lack of potential. At least, that’s what I’m using as an excuse not to let others read it. Because it’s a story I like. And if that’s critiqued, I may just quit.
There was a time in my life when such things really didn’t matter. As a teenager, writing was my self-expression and all the gunk that had accumulated around my life was cleaned up and made more understandable within the poetry and stories I wrote. Most of it was highly depressing- the woman who died, drowned by her boyfriend or the one who died when her husband beat her to death. There was the story of the woman who took her children and left her abusive husband. The poems were not much more upbeat, telling tales of woe, lost love and missed opportunities.
Reading them now, I am struck by the subject matter more than the writing. Some of it is just pure cheese and I was as painfully aware of it then as I am now. Most of it was just the confused thoughts of a teenager, trying desperately to make sense of the crazy, maniacal world she was stuck in. Sometimes I am impressed with my own self, but mostly, I see that there is work to be done.
You see, I have been trying to discern what it is I want to do with this blog. What, exactly, am I trying to say and to whom am I trying to say it?
Ultimately, I’d like to be a good writer. Someone who can turn a phrase, create a scene, plant an idea with a word and make you sit back in awe. (No, I’m not a perfectionist at all….)
While that may be a long ways off, my goal now is to produce work that I truly feel proud of, and not attempt to reach a goal of a certain number of posts per week/month/whatever. I want people to come here because they are drawn by not only what I say, but by the way in which I say it. In homage to my sixteen year old self, who wrote poem after poem, loving the feel of words strung together, I begin my new goal today….