Saturday, October 31, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
|This feels like Love|
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
Tragedy, heartbreak, and pain do not make life richer, except perhaps for the relief of having survived with a deeper appreciation of everything you STILL have. My life has not been awash in unusual suffering. I've never survived a tsunami, an earthquake, a fire, or a shooting rampage.
But that doesn't mean I can't identify with those who have, or imagine myself in a similar situation. As a writer, I use the pain and suffering, the fear and shock that I've experienced to enrich and develop the characters in my novel.
I've felt the loss of people I loved, parents, a sister. I've lived through a painful divorce, financial disaster, a near death from an ectopic pregnancy. I was stalked and threatened by a mental patient who fixated on me.
One peculiar aspect of being a writer is the ability to be inside and outside of the experience at the same time. I remember as a child during moments of rage or sadness becoming aware of a separate part of myself observing and recording everything I was feeling. In the most dire moments (once, for example, as my car spun through the air after being sideswiped by a truck) I caught myself thinking, "This will be great to write about. Time actually does slow down. If I live through this, I'll use it in my novel."
When I'm writing a scene that demands intense emotions I can easily recall desires and emotions of my own life. (Not that I've ever murdered anyone--but I know what murderous rage feels like.) Devastation, hate, love, joy, feel the same no matter what the circumstances.
Tapping into the emotions, sense memory according to acting principals, help me, as a writer, recall the physical sensation of these emotions and transfer them to the characters as I create them.
Friday, October 9, 2015
FEAR IS WHAT HOLDS US BACK FROM OUR CREATIVITY.
One of my favorite inspirational writers is Julia Cameron, author of several books on the creative process including The Artist's Way, Walking in This World, Finding Water, and The Complete Artis's Way. She is a prolific creator in many fields, including film, poetry, memoir, as well as her inspirational books for every artist.
One of her ideas that strikes me as deeply true is her belief that procrastination (and/or the condition known as "writer's block) is the result of FEAR. What can cause a person who truly wants to write (or draw, paint, sculpt, film, dance etc.) to freeze before the page or artistic material? What turns an artist's desire for expression against herself?
ACCORDING TO CAMERON, FEAR IS AT THE HEART OF SUCH PROCRASTINATION.
Her advice: before you start a new project, ask your artist (i.e. that inner creative part of yourself) several questions, including what resentments or angers you are holding in regard to the project, any fears, and what you stand to gain by NOT tackling the project.
Another part of Cameron's cannon is the daily mental "dump" called Morning Pages. She urges any creative person to make this a daily practice, simply write, no censorship, no second thoughts, no concern with grammar or spelling or structure. This practice, according to Cameron, frees the mind and dissolves writer's block.
I've attempted to incorporate this practice into my writing life, but I confess, I don't always follow through. But when I feel blocked I open one of her books and her writings inspire me and activate me.