Saturday, September 04, 2010

This Writing Thing, Part 2: The Transformation

What did I have in my head that I wanted people to know, though? That's what stories are all about, aren't they? A writer has a message they want to get out there to people, a great thought that will change the lives of the readers, a beautiful idea that will dazzle the mind. At least that's what I thought writing was all about, and the fact was that I didn't have a great thought in my head.

My only personal manifesto was to enjoy life day by day. It's what I wanted to do from the time I was sixteen. Of course, my mother didn't think much of that idea at the time, and in 2001, she was still hoping that I would someday "bloom" and become "successful," whatever the hell that meant.

I could write about that, I posed to myself. Maybe I could have a character who thought that very thing, and lived her life accordingly. And anyway, no one would be going to read anything I wrote, so I could make the character just as boring as I pleased.

But fifty thousand words! That's a lot of words, and how would I come up with them?

While tidying up the bedroom, I came across a dream journal I'd used the previous Lent, loaded with six weeks of memorable dreams. The entries were just notes, fragments to bring my dream back to mind for meditation. I could stretch them into more words...

I could ...

What a transforming phrase! What a wonderful word, "could!" A couple days before Halloween, I was suddenly sweaty-palmed and trembling at the thought of writing all those words. ALL those words. All those WORDS!

No more concise, say-it-clearly-in-the-briefest-manner writing -- instead, I could allow myself to be as wordy as I wanted to be; I could describe everything until not a speck of it was hidden. I could jabber, I could embellish, I could use images from my own life and finally explore them in words.

And no one ever had to read a sentence of it. As many words as I cared to write, they were mine, all for me.

Obviously, I had changed my mind about NaNoWriMo. I was "in."

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