Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pithy And Long Winded Are Not Mutually Exclusive

"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?


  1. My wife goes into the studio each day and throws paint on canvas. She cajoles, curses, hems and hollers, gets angry at it and then makes love to it. Still she loves to do this every day. My advice is keep on writing, whether it's your daily journal or novel or dramatic play or comedy, or graffiti on the outside of the now defunct Penguin. Get your 10,000 hours and then some.

  2. While I realize that we are living different experiences, I have had similar fears plague me for the past few years. Only I succumbed to them, and convinced myself that I had exhausted my abilities. The creative drought was all in my mind. I never lost inspiration, I just shot it down before it ever penetrated my heart. I told myself that I didn't have anything left within me that was worth sharing. Your fear is valid. Again, I know we are different people, but I'm going to postulate that your fear is of your own fabrication. Fear is all in the mind and, if we love Descartes (wOOt Matrix), then we believe that all we can know is our own mind. In my opinion, one of the best ways to overcome this fear is to think positively about your abilities and to let yourself be inspired. Keep writing, keep doing, keep creating. You have a long life ahead of you filled with many experiences that will be sources for your creativity. All you need to do is believe in your talents and tell yourself how great you are. Even if you think you sound ridiculous in the beginning and you don't believe it, DON'T STOP. If you do the opposite and fear the creativity drought, you will most likely fall to it.
    So don't succumb; you are talented, you are funny, you are imaginative, and you are smart. So that is my humble ramble. I hope something made sense...

  3. While keeping yourself busy writing is necessary, and everyday plus, so is reading, (enjoyable stuff)but mostly just getting out in the world, face to face with interaction and reaction which you can surely handle! ...and don't get in the way of your shadow don't want it to block the best you have to offer right?!