Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same.
More than one person, doubtless like me,
writes in order to have no face.

Michel Foucault

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CONTENTMENT AMONG US

It seems forever since writing anything. I mean, writers block notwithstanding, there have been so many other things running through my life. Some personal, some business, and some…just me.
I am exhausted. Fact is, I am tired most of the time and with that, lack the energy to sit down and write without my mind wondering or becoming blank.

My mind restless with thoughts, compounding the reasons why the muse has decided to take holiday. My novel sits collecting dust. Thankfully, characters don’t age unless you let them, and they are patient. Sitting there until your hand returns to launch them into a new adventure.

I have considered abandoning writing completely. My thoughts are if the words don’t come naturally, why bother. Why bother beating yourself up. Why bother wasting time when you could be doing something productive.

The other night the X Factor was on television. Not being a big fan of TV and a lesser fan of reality TV (I think it’s all fixed) I spend a lot of time reading. The other night however, I sat in front of the tube, undermotivated. 

Is that one word? Maybe I just joined the Shakespeare club and invented my own.

The pretense of the show is enviable. Beat out thousands of others and receive a multi-million dollar contract. Who wouldn’t want that? Sometimes I wish writing a novel was as easy as singing. Yeah, I know some can’t carry a tune, but for those of us that can sing—even in the car—it’s not that hard, and a lot easier (and a lot saner) than creating several real life characters in your head. Come to think of it, writing a novel and getting published is like that…beat out thousands of others and receive a publisher. Still, chances are you won’t hit that million dollar mark.

My conclusion with the show is it is as much about the contestant as it is the show; probably more. Watching the hopefuls bare their soul is somewhat enlightening. Listening to the comments from contestants desperate for success, recognition, money… or simply love sometimes created more emotion than I wanted to deal with. I can’t imagine a homeless man that has missed so many opportunities in life and yet so talented, or a songwriter at 60 years still pursuing his dream, the house wife whose ex-husband told her she would never amount to anything. Still, I am not naive enough to understand these sorts of things, these emotions, is what pulls the audience into the script making them talk about the show and creating a loyal fan base. Nonetheless, the stories can break your heart, inspire you, and help you realize that it is never too late.
Idols were never my thing until I began writing; then I read Hemingway. Some disagree, saying he spent his life creating the approach of a manly man; the safari hunter, sailor, fisherman, womanizer, drinker, adventurer. Often I wonder if readers of his time thought him a hero, or idolized and envied. Today’s perspective is so different from the real person. I say he spent his life searching for what he wanted to be and writing was the subset of the search. My dream of being successful as a writer pales to his success (as with most writers). He published The Sun Also Rises by the time he reached the young age of 27—he wrote the draft in about 2 months. Then again, he lived the life and many of the references within the novel, as with a lot of fiction, is based on real events.

What do you think? We make this up?
 
A couple of years later he published A Farewell to Arms. He starts: In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves. At 41 and considered a literary genius, For Whom the Bell Tolls - He lay on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.
Point being, if there is one, is Hemingway was a young man. I am not. Of course, age has little to do with desire (60 years old and competing for superstardom?) but chances are your dream has passed. I suppose I will write another novel, and maybe dust off the one I started. Who knows? Being content is a big part of life. I am…I don’t think Hemingway was.

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