Saturday, November 5, 2011
An Ocean of Words
Not only am I writing a book, allegedly anyway, but I also seem compelled to write about the book here. It's only day 6; perhaps I'll get tired of doing both. There's a way in which I hope I will tire of the process. It's addictive; I see how writers' lives can veer way out of balance, as they turn inwards to the exclusion of the rest of life.
I think about Isaac Newton, squirreling himself away in a small cottage out in the country while a bout of the plague ran rampant through the city. For a year he was mostly alone. He was miraculously in possession of a 600 page book of plain paper which was very rare in the 17th century. He noticed sunlight breaking into rainbows as it passed through a crystal on the windowsill. He watched the natural order outside his cabin. He saw things, figured it out, then wrote. The people who know a whole lot more about his life than I do say that during this time he made his greatest discoveries about physics. Thank goodness he had the book, and that he wrote it all down!
Writing and reading are very recent developments in the history of our species; the art is still unfolding. It always blows me away to remember that the classics of western literature were written by hand, with a pen. It's almost unthinkable now, that War and Peace, for instance, was written by hand. Typewriters are a very recent invention that changed everything about the art of writing. Writing used to be the domain of a privileged few - now everyone writes, and almost everyone publishes their writing. It's interesting to think about.
Similar to my attempt to learn the bass, doing this "fiction" writing is more about process than result. The same is true in my painting and drawing. The end result is not nearly as interesting as the process. I love the dance of art, the act of creating. At heart I am a performance artist. The paintings, drawings, this blog, and now, the book, are more like residue after the fact, disposable, in my opinion. I wonder if that makes any sense.
I've plateaued in some way or another with the writing. I'm still writing, but what's coming through me is Deuteronomy. I'm immersed in describing, including the smallest details, all the rules my protagonist lives by. She has a rule for everything, whew! I made the commitment to go with the flow of the writing, and so I carry on, but oy, the flow is kind of boring at the moment. I'm far ahead of the benchmark in terms of words; maybe I'll lay off from writing for awhile, see if a brief rest stokes my imagination a bit.
Enough writing on writing! While I sit here contemplating, the world is ongoing outside the front door. I'm going to get out there this morning, engage with this beautiful fall day. For today, no NaNoWriMo. Yeah. L'chaim, y'all!!