Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Writing

Image of Vintage Typewriter "Writing Machine no. 2" Fine Art 8x12" Matte Photography Print, Typewriter Keys,

Image by Anna Delores

Last night, I had my first writing class: Getting Started on Your Novel.  Considering that I have been wanting to write for around ten years and have written only three mediocre chapters on a book and less than one hundred blog posts, I decided that it might be time to get a little assistance...professional assistance.  I am also hoping to find that, perhaps, I actually do have the talent to write books that people actually want to read. 

Over the last few years, I have finally tapped into my creative side, dabbling in art, photography, and writing...perfecting none of them.  However, the writing and photography have revealed themselves to be the creative outlets I choose more often than the art.  Is it because I feel more confident with those or do I feel as if I reach a greater audience? 

I have been fighting the feeling that I must choose one mode of expression over the other, but have decided that maybe writing is more suited to me as a career.  The life of a writer appeals to me greatly and the art and photography can find a place alongside the writing.

Rather than be part of the group socializing, I prefer to sit off to the side, observing, listening, and nosing into the lives of those laughing, talking, and living…wondering what their story is. 

Everyone has a story.  Everyone.  Some people don’t even realize they have a story.  Most people don’t care enough to find out someone else’s story.  But they are there…the stories.  The stories that inspire us, infuriate us, break our hearts.  If only we all had the time to really learn about each other…at least those closest to us.  We would find greater connection, understanding, and compassion, all of which are critical to the success of the human race. 

It is the job of a writer to make the time to find those stories, to coax from Arthur the story of finding love in war-ravaged London in 1942.  Maybe the writer will learn of Maggie, who raised her seven brothers and sisters after their parents’ death and how it prepared Maggie for a lifelong career as a teacher. 

I crave connection.  I think most people do, but they don’t realize it.  People connect through stories.  They realize that they are not the only one who has experienced failure, heartbreak, or loss.  They understand that no matter how painful an experience, one can always rise above it.  By seeing themselves in another, they get a deeper understanding of this thing called “life” and just what it means to be here…experiencing “life”. 

When you take the time to delve into the life of another, you find yourself a bit more compassionate about other people.  Arthur, the 93 year-old man who lives three doors down, always sits on his front porch after dinner.  Recently he has been cranky when you and your husband take a stroll down the street.  Through neighborhood gossip, you find out that the love he found in London and who was with him for 70 years, recently passed away and he misses her terribly.  It pains him to see other people in love when he has lost his beloved Maggie.  Before long, old, cantankerous Arthur no longer sits on his front porch as you walk by.  He has found it unbearable to go on another day without her and has joined her…wherever she is.  Together, for seventy years.  How could you possibly go on without the other? 

Our ancestors passed on their culture through stories.  They taught the young ones about those who came before them.  They taught them of the sacrifices, the loss, and the triumph.  They inspired the youth of their people to do good, to contribute, to make life better for those they loved.  And then those young people grew up, had families of their own, and continued the tradition. 

The story. 

Everyone has a story.

I want to find the story. 


clay said...

You could do it.
You have the introspection and the passion.
(I find I struggle with the passion; without the daily deadlines, I don't know if I could deliver)
Just reading that post, I had the idea that, if you could sit down with Arthur for a couple of weeks and turn that story into chapters and, if you could get people to read it, they would be glad they did.
(It seems the willingness to write only for yourself must be present to create something the masses will consume. Irony)

Or — remember, I gave you this idea — you could find 3 or 5 or 7 or 10 Arthurs and Maggies and tell all their stories in a book called "Love Stories" and then you could find the folks who made "Love Actually" and "Valentine's Day" because that kind of book is made for that kind of movie.

It could work.

Because we crave connection.
And we love love.
(and alliteration, too)

Kelli Thomas said...

Oh Clay, I miss you....thank you for your insight and book idea and for always being there...wherever you are.....:)

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