"Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy"
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
One of my favorites, that.
Between quotations and lists, this is getting a bit formulaic, isn't it? I'll try and knock it off.
I made a terrible mess looking for any of my writings that might have been floating around here at my parents house, some of it likely ten years old.
Why? these are relics, these scribblings, these typings. I'm not that person any more. I don't ask the same questions, I discovered cadence (I hope), I've written better, recently; surely!
But I haven't. The only meaningful piece of fiction I've eked out in recent years is my play. And that's in perpetual 'Newest Draft' mode. Here's a good time to mention what is probably my deepest, greatest fear: I am, and have been for some time, terrified, terrified, that my creativity is a finite volume that will one day be exhausted. Songs, poems, stories, jokes; I am always concerned that I am not getting the optimal mileage out of my ideas, and therefore wasting them. This started when I was young, I first remember being concerned with it in middle school. A good friend of mine and I had put together a silly little song detailing the absurd things we'd do as magicians. The melody he'd written was pretty charming, and I asked if we should save it for a song with better lyrics. He looked at me, kind of baffled, and said, "Well, we can always write new music...". I'm not entirely certain I took it to heart. I can't imagine any body of my work that doesn't include a lot of what I wrote in high school and college. And I'm not talking about The Viking Portable Library Of John Wray, I just mean any bundle of scratches I might pass on to a lover or descendant... or therapist. I comfort and flatter myself by insisting I bloomed early. But I've probably just run out of ideas. And it goes beyond an unwillingness to let go.
As some one who is, technically, a professional comedian now (shudder) I do the same thing with jokes. I analyze, plan, test deliveries, fix, try again...even improvised bits I struggle to find ways of resurrecting. Now, thats an easy enough trap for any one in my line of work to fall into, but I promise you, it genuinely does result in sleepless nights. And of course, this ties in a bit with the whole point of this blog: to exercise my creative muscles and keep me thinking and typing. Hopefully, I can force out some eloquence and charm. If I do find the works I've been seeking, they'll be transcribed and posted here, narcissist that I am. I'm going to try and coalesce some of the fringe ideas I've got over the next few weeks, so, hell, maybe you'll see some NEW fiction posted.
I really ought to enroll myself in some kind of creative writing workshop next time I'm in one place long enough. But, while that will certainly take care of the discipline issue I struggle with, it doesn't address the fear I have of losing steam. What's the cure for that? Is it a valid fear? And if so, what can I do to stave off the emptying of my reserve? If it's a shadow I'm jumping at....well, could you prove it?