Sunday, September 18, 2011

On writing

I have many friends who write poetry and fiction that actually gets published. They write professionally--I write for fun.

Part of why I write is that my Mom was a consultant for the New York City Writing project. She believed in "never a day without a word." I'm pretty sure that none of my mom's creative work has ever been published, but that doesn't matter in this context. What she did for a living was encourage people to use their verbal skills better ("If you're stuck on a math problem write down what you are thinking")

What she did as a mother was encourage me to write. Because. What would she have done if I'd been dyslexic? Luckily for her I am not. I started my first journal in second grade. I decided that all of my entries should be in rhyme. That didn't last long. I discovered that poetry didn't have to rhyme. And then decided that poetry wasn't my thing*

I am a verbal. I like reading and I like writing. I write letters (e-mails) to friends I don't see and I write blog posts. I am happy to have the brain-space to do so much. What I'd really love to be able to do is write fiction. I haven't been able to do that for years.

I don't want to be published (although that would be an amusing thing to put on my CV) I just want to write creative fiction because nothing (with the possible exclusion of sex) is more fun.

Yesterday, I stopped by my buddy's place because we were supposed to have dinner together. He had Word open and was clearly working on a piece of creative fiction. He said he hadn't written much today--he got started late. But later, when I spoke with him I could see that he saw where his story was going. I am very surprised that the green envy leaking out of me did not dissolve the chair I was sitting in. I thought "he has no idea how lucky he is." And then we went to dinner.

Last night after I left the dinner party I went home and, much to my surprise, started to write a short story. I looked at what I had written last night. Yep, it was terrible.** But I don't care. Being able to write creative fiction is not my priority this fall--there are five other things standing in line before that. But, since I'm a professional desktop support analyst/network administration who needs to get into another graduate degree program, creative fiction is not likely to float to the top of the list any time soon (unless application essays count as fiction.)

So writing a bad short story amused me for an hour. This gives me hope that when I have the time I might be able to write a good short story one of these days.

In the meantime I'll just do my push-ups on this blog. Like my mom taught me to do.

*My parents friends had a baby. I didn't get to see the baby because small children who attend public schools are typhoid marys. My parents gave me a few particulars about the kid "She has brown hair and eyes." And I wrote a poem about the baby, because my parents suggested I do so. "You are not a pastel baby...bees bring you sweet, dark honey." The parents were ecstatic. They loved my metaphors. What metaphors? I'd never set eyes on the kid. This was my first lesson in how the author's intentions don't always count.

**The driver's ed teachers at a rural highschool have taken to smoking pot before their classes. The Assistant Principal's secretary keeps seeing them walking out of the same closet and assumes they're having an affair.

1 comment:

Crescent Ed. said...

Shitty first drafts, cantabridgienne, shitty first drafts. Some of us who write fiction just burble beautifully on the page, but the rest of us are not like that. Don't put the writers on a pedestal. The fiction writer has to move heaven and earth to sit down and write :).