Friday, March 26, 2010

More on Why I Love Writing

I am never, and I mean never, without a book at my disposal. I take every opportunity I can possibly grab to read. So that's two things I love...writing and reading. As a writer you must love to read, not just enjoy it, not just indulge in it as a past time, YOU HAVE TO LOVE IT.

If, for example, you want to write in the genre of romance novels well I might be going out on a limb here, but I really think you need to read a heck of a lot of them to gain an appreciation and an insight into what makes a good one, and a bad one.

I go further than this though. You should not be restricting yourself to one particular genre or style. Our job as writers is to push boundaries and challenge our readers. Readers will get sick of the same old water in the tub, they need to be nudged, prodded and poked every so often and so do writers.

If you've never read a piece of chick lit in your life, do yourself a favour and do just that. You might be a little surprised by what you find.
My advice, read everythign you can get your hands on it will only serve to broaden your own knowledge on other areas and subjects and may very well give you some useful fodder for your own work.

Love to write / love to read.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I Love to Write

The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon...

Look, I'm sure you all know the above words and you probably all know the Nursery Rhyme from which they came but these words help explain why I love to write.

Simply put, when I write, when I put pen to paper in some meaningful fashion my mind runs away with my pen (or my keyboard). I can't explain it any more than a person who loves jogging, bike riding or picking and arranging flowers can explain why they derive joy from what they do.

For some reason, when the time is right and all is well within my 'real' world I find that I can sit and literally write for as long as my fingers will hold out.

Sometimes I will look back upon my efforts and condemn them to the virtual rubbish / trash bin, other times I will gaze upon my literary efforts and think not bad Will, not bad at all...

I can't, and won't, vouch for what others may think of my offerings, but you know what ? I don't really care what others might think. Unless I am writing for a job (i.e. one that pays) I write for me and me alone.

It seems at times that there are words that I just have to get out. Once they are out and possibly being read by others I feel a release. I feel free.
I guess for me writing is a cathartic experience, one that I have to do every so often to put my mind (and fingers) at rest.

Anyway, I feel at rest and ease again, so that's all for now about Why I Love to Write.

Why Do We Write?

I Write Because I Hate Gaps...What???

Well let me tell you a little tale I like to call "Holy Bongo Playing Greek Philosophers" or "How My Mind Ran Away With My Pen"

Recently as I was walking through the pedestrian mall, which is my city’s main street, on my way to work I saw a situation involving a person and two police officers. At first I thought the person had had some sort of accident and was being assisted by the officers however as I drew closer it became apparent that he was not hurt but was more likely a vagrant who had chosen the wrong patch of sidewalk to set up the bongo drums he had upon his lap. The person was sitting on the ground and was being questioned, or at least it seemed that way, by one of the police officers whilst the other office was putting on a pair of gloves.

I took the scene in and continued on my way to work. By the time I had reached my desk I had created an entire ‘back story’ to the situation.

The person was an out of work folk or indie performer and had planned to do some busking that day but had failed to secure the proper permit and as a result attracted the attention of the law. The police officer who was putting on the gloves was about to make a discovery that would lead to the out of work performer being incarcerated on some minor drug possession charge. The other officer was then going to ….. Anyway my little melodrama went on for a few more scenes, ending with the person being turned back out onto the streets in a few days only to be picked up again by other officers in another part of the city for the same offence.

I don’t know what the odds of the above interpretation and summation of the scene I saw being actually true would be but I am guessing quite small. My 20 – 25 seconds of real time vision entered my brain and came out as an opening to a three act drama, spread over about a week.

Why couldn’t I just see what I saw, leave it at that and move on? Why do we, and I may be generalizing here, always try to make sense of what we see? Why can’t we accept the fact that there are some things we are meant to know and there are other things that are going to be complete mysteries to us, no matter how hard we try to interpret them?

I’m no philosopher but I think it’s because we humans hate gaps. That is, we hate ‘not knowing’, we can’t possibly know everything, that of course is impossible but when something takes our interest we need to fill in what we don’t know with something that is at least plausible. Things can't ‘just happen’ or ‘just be’, there must a reason for what we hear and more particularly for what we see. But is filling the gaps with half knowledge and half truths the answer? I think not, knowing a multitude of half truths is arguably more dangerous than knowing nothing at all.

About 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Epictetus wrote “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows…” simply put this is saying that the myth of knowing, or the fact of only half knowing is an impediment to actual learning. Unframed, or more probably un-hinged, knowledge is worse than ignorance. We need to embrace the gaps rather than trying to plaster over them with ill thought out or ill conceived ideas or solutions. These gaps present opportunities in which we can build bridges to knowledge. Frank Herbert, the author of the Dune series of science fiction novels put it like this “the beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”

As for me, the bongo playing vagrant may have played out the little scenario I invented for him but then again he be appearing on a stage near you, very soon. That’s a nice ending to the story too don’t you think?