Words Escape Me

A little bit of writing inspired by the Southeast Review and their February Writer’s Regimen.

Eadar Doodles + Cheese

A life celebrating beauty – seeking it out, sharing it, creating it…training yourself to find it in the darkest places – it’s not a bad plan.
But as a word beauty can sound dull or superficial; unsuitable to the moment it is meant to define. It is not uncommon in our lives and language for the words we pluck from the scene of an adventure — with the tips of our grasping fingers — to fall short of conveying the emotion felt. Yet the memory of the experience is engraved on us in more than words. The happening does not simply fade into our story, it carves symbols into our psyche and lines them with ink. Even without the symmetry of imbued words to describe it for another, the lesson is not lessened and the profundity still yawns beneath us effervescent with superlatives, triumphs, and monsters.

Example one – “Deep”…

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… “when I write I’m merely a sensibility.”- Virginia Woolf

Reading through Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, published by her husband, Leonard Woolf, can be likened to trying to put a 10,000 piece 3D puzzle together while blindfolded. And then, just when I’m hopelessly lost, her voice comes through with such intense clarity and insight I am left breathless.

I was simultaneously reluctant and desperate to read through this publication. Mr. Woolf supplies a Preface in which he admits to extracting items too personal for sharing … still, there are passages within that are painfully personal — passages that maybe only a writer would recognize as painfully personal.

Often, the author puts into her own words the struggle over THAT question: Why write? Why, indeed. Like so many, when she left the question alone and just did the thing, magic happened. When she obsessed over it, picked at it … the thundering silence, the lack of no real answer supplied by a trusted source affected her like a crippling disease.

The question of how … well, Virginia Woolf wrestled that out of her soul, spirit, and intellect on a daily basis.

The quoted line above is extracted from the days she wrote about working on Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf had embarked upon what she called her “quick change theory”, managing multiple projects at once that included reading classic literature, writing critiques, and penning a novel. Her days, during this time, were made of a rigorous routine of her own design.

Tell me what it’s like when you become “merely a sensibility”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Proof Of Life: Writing About Writing

“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.” ~ William Zinsser

Today, I invite all hard laboring writers to defend something you’ve written. No matter if it’s old or new, no matter if it has been published or hides out in the bottom drawer of your desk. Tell us about it. Tell us why you wrote it. Inspire us with your dedication to this character, this plot, this form, that demanded you be the one to bring it into the world.

#writingISgood

 

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Collaboration: Fairy Dust & Hard Labor

Just as RicoChey is suggesting a mob of us writers collaborate, I begin reading a book about creative collaboration. In Big Magic, Liz Gilbert puts forth her experiences with inspiration — that thing of mysterious quality and substance, like fairy dust — and putting herself to work at the vocation of writing every day — hard labor. The magic will come, she says. It’s just OUT THERE, WAITING.

Inspiration, ideas, are just flitting around the universe in search of willing conduits. There’s no predicting when the magic might strike. But according to Gilbert, the creative being, the conduit, must already be at work to be limber enough, and willing enough, to be truly receptive.

Within the pages of this book are some pretty far out stories of her experiences. The lady writer has some pretty far out ideas that have not yet been proven by her experiences; nevertheless, I appreciate her passionate devotion. I appreciate that she is passionate enough, and creative enough to personify such things as genius, ideas, the cosmos, love, and vocation.

I appreciate that she accepts with faith and gratitude that she was meant to be a writer, and that everyone else on the planet is meant to express themselves creatively in some manner. She sees creativity as a biological imperative, as well as a definite human entitlement. I dig that. Liz has got to be one heck of a fun dinner conversationalist.

This book is woven with incredible tales of other (famous and obscure) creatives who stay ready and willing to receive inspiration on its own terms, and who, like Liz, developed their own philosophies on how they must all individually proceed with a creative life. Quite a fun read, and yes, an inspiring one.

Thus far, her words have inspired me to continue fighting off those ugly doubts that persistently tell me to give up on writing — your stories have no purpose, Kathy, your poems aren’t poems at all, you possess no musicality, stop already. I’ve been slapping down this voice for years until getting just plain worn out. But here’s the thing: I am a writer. My soul speaks in direct opposition to that ugly voice. Wherever the hell it comes from.

I am a writer. It’s time to get back to work. Who’s with me?

 #gomakesomething!

 

 

 

 

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Hot Potato Press: Sign Ups

For those of you who didn’t tune in, or who don’t remember, two weeks ago I introduced the idea of the Hot Potato Writing Game.

For rules and basics, click here.

Today I’ll be taking volunteers for a beta run. We’ll play as a small, trial group, and attempt to put together a flow for the activity.

To throw your name in, comment below!

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Big Magic: Let’s Discuss Creative Living Beyond Fear

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s since listening to her narration of Eat Pray Love in the winter of 2012.  Gilbert’s narrative talent is divine on paper; her spoken word is magnificent.

That narrative talent is what got me through The Signature of All Things — not, in my opinion, her finest character/plot accomplishment. BUT THAT VOICE! I am downright envious of  enamored with the way she can convey depth of emotion and imagery in a paragraph. A sentence. A single word.

My latest venture into her memorist-storytelling is already inspiring. Gilbert begins Big Magic with the brief recounting of a remarkable poet’s career — a truly creative soul, a bit different from your average poet/scholar.

“We must risk delight”, he wrote. “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

Here, Gilbert is quoting the poet Jack Gilbert (no relation). A man whose writing, and creative philosophy inspired her to continue on a path she’d already begun — courageously seeking to live creatively, in spite of all the nay saying her own fears bombarded her with, in spite of critics, and the intrusions of real life, Elizabeth Gilbert dared to keep writing, thinking, dreaming, creating. Her lovely, talented writing voice within Big Magic encourages us all to do the same.

I will be reading throughout the next week, mining for gems that Gilbert tends to leave behind at every turn. Will you join me? If so, meet me here in precisely seven days. We’ll discuss. #gobeawesome

 

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Collaborative Writing Game: You’re It. Go!

This sounds really fun, y’all. Catch up on the basics, then see my list of ideas below.


Here’s the basis of RicoChey’s game:

● A group of participants form a team and swap email addresses.
● Taking turns, each participant writes one page of content (the group having agreed upon a font and pt. value), and emails it to the group.
● The group follows along, taking turns contributing to the story.
● Team members can “pass”, or submit less than a page when experiencing a rough patch of inspiration.
● Team chat is encouraged and suggested, to keep the vision consistent and aim for a shared end goal.

Obviously there are nuts and bolts, but this is my general rubric. We could draw names to form teams, or we can choose one another ourselves. We can do drawings for themes or titles or synopses — the options are definitely vast.

The idea is to take turns until a team has generated a full story, preferably a short one, after which either the team or a designated editor can smooth it out and present it to the community for sharing and feedback! Woo!

I open the floor now to ideas, questions, and comments. I have ideas in mind, but I want to give you guys a chance first.

If we’re successful, we can call this a mini contest someday and pit teams against each other with deadlines and prizes!

GO.


So, I have some ideas that might launch our first story. Make a vote in comments for the one that interests you most, or share one of your ideas. Ready?

Scenario One: A middle-aged couple decides to have dinner at home on a Friday night. For them, this is no ordinary repast  — they plan to discuss the end of their relationship in a perfectly amicable adult fashion over their favorite dish.

Who gets custody of the dog? How will the retirement accounts and modest home value be split? They are determined to keep cool heads out of respect for the good years of their two decades together.  They are determined to be kind to one another.

Well … they try.

Just as the attempt at reasonable conversation is spiraling completely out of control, their attention is drawn to a shocking scene outside their cute little urban bungalow.

Rumors have circulated for months about the possibility of a such a disaster. The end just may well be near. What will our once loving couple do? Will they cling to each other, or will they go their separate ways to search for help and safety?

What is this terrible crisis that forces them to choose? Do either of them possess the fortitude and survival skills necessary to get out of this alive?

Scenario Two: A teenager barely makes it out of his/her advanced high school psychologically whole — four years surrounded by extraordinarily gifted kids who refuse to consider themselves “peers” can really wear on a healthy self-esteem. But the hero of our story is surprisingly resilient.

What must it be like to never truly escape such a bizarre community of “super kids”? There’s the guy with telekinetic powers and genius engineering patents pending, the petite telepathic chemistry phenom, etc., etc. In such company, it’s easy to feel unworthy.


 

Consider these “prompts” if you like. Let us know what you’re thinking. #writethis

RicoChey’s original post is here. And be sure to check out t.s. wright’s hero propositiion.

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