Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back Where I Belong

"You know where dreams like that will take you.
In any event, it makes no difference now.
This is for the times you told me everything would go wrong.
This is for the way you put me back where I belong..."
 - "Back Where I Belong" by Dumptruck

WritingImage via WikipediaI've been writing a lot lately, I'm pleased to report.  Very little of it, you will notice, has ended up being posted here.  I want to change that, but it's not easy - for me anyway.  Writing is both a very extroverted and an extremely introverted exercise.  There are things I write for public consumption and things I write that are for no one's eyes but my own.  I suppose that's true for many people, but somewhere along the way last year, the two became so tangled for me that writing of almost any kind came to a near cessation (not a good thing at all, considering much of the work I do for my employer consists of copy and content writing!), and time was needed to sort things out and restart the machine.

As I noted here earlier, one thing that I did that really allowed the words to begin flowing again was to consciously remove all of the constraining Rules of Writing that I was forcing myself to follow in hopes of finding my way back to the place where I can write freely and happily.  One Rule I have not yet been successful in letting go is the notion that whenever I write, for whatever purpose, that I must write about something.  I must have a subject! Where is this sentence or paragraph or essay or marketing piece or journal entry going?  Define! I must define!  Have you any idea how restrictive that is?

There was a time back in my school days when I wrote short stories for my friends.  They were always written in very free form, stream-of-consciousness style.  I seldom used constructs like paragraphs or plot or, at times, even punctuation.  I started at a point and just wrote, and let the words take me wherever they wanted to go.  The resultant pieces would be beautiful patchwork quilts of phrases and images and characters.  Some characters would recur from story to story; some would appear briefly and then never again; rarely would the same characters end the story they had begun.  I wrote until the words stopped, and when they did I knew I was done.  One friend described reading them as akin to reading the transcript of a bizarre dream, with unrelated scenes melting into one another and non-sequitors abounding in a complete loss of logical direction.  Yet, when you are within a dream like that, actually dreaming it, it all somehow seems to make perfect sense.

I miss being able to write like that.  Over the years, that disappeared, in part I think because the OCD that at times clouds my thinking also clouds my writing, telling me it must be perfect and must follow strict, orderly rules, or else it is not good.  I have tried to sit down and purposefully write in that style again, but the words do not come as they once did.  I know why, of course: I'm trying rather than simply doing.  I'm trying to force the process rather than allow it to happen.  It's the writing equivalent of trying to push a wet noodle uphill through jello.

So I am trying to get back where I once was. Back to a place where I can write more freely, without writing about anything in particular. Back where I belong.  To do so, I am undertaking some writing exercises.  The Six Word Sunday posts I've started here are a part of that.  I am making use of Write Or Die, a fantastic and highly recommended tool for just getting words out on the paper.  I am challenging myself to write in formats I am completely and utterly uncomfortable in (poetry, script writing, narrative fiction, et al.) and I am submitting those pieces to various places for publication under assumed names or anonymously or, when brave or comfortable or drunk enough, under my own name, just to see what happens - just to put it out there.

I would like to begin posting more free-form things here in the hopes that I might get some feedback from you, both supportive and constructively critical.  Or, if it's complete crap, tell me that.  But I need the feedback, and I know my readership here is not the most vocal. Many a post goes un-commented upon around these parts!  But this time, I am asking for your help.  Your input will be extremely valuable.  Deal?

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  1. I am still looking for you on AIM (or if you have another alternative, great), and I have not yet told you that you put sentences together very well. You write in a conversational but very solid style in which the placement of your words, and its precision, adds to an overall effect which is great.

  2. I am impressed with your post, but DAMN! I LOVE THAT SONG! Thank you for reminding me! (Sorry for the all caps, but, seriously, this song in its entirety was lost in the cobwebbed recesses of my mind until now, when I realized I can still sing along with the lyrics.)

  3. Thank you, Susan, for the kind words about the post. And yep, that's a great damn song, ain't it? One of those sets of lyrics that pops up every so often in my life and just fits...