Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Writing?

Do you know what this is? This? Right here? It's Post # 300. I know. Stunning, right? To think that only two hundred and seventy-five of them have been meaningless drivel! It makes a girl so proud!

So I'm hanging in the lobby (because someone's cleaning my room, perhaps, and also because here is the internet) and I'm watching the pretty waves roll in to the little cove, and I'm sure, certain, positive that I should be writing something other than this blog post, momentous as it may be.

But here's the thing for me about writing.

I need to feel it.

I brought one of those little memory sticks with me. It's purple. It allows me to carry all my drafts over the ocean to Hawaii. It allows me to add to the drafts. Of whatever I brought. Lots of options. And I'm honestly not feeling it at all.

The writing, although good exercise, frankly stinks. It's dry and unfunny and pedestrian and prosaic. (that's different from Prozac - at least that would seem funny, right?)

Side note: There is a man standing at the window looking very much like a late-middle-aged Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. He has on Khaki shorts and a grayish wide-sleeved tank, almost a t-shirt, but not quite. He's wearing square, wire-rimmed glasses and standing with his fists balled on his hips, fingers pointing back up toward his skinny arms. His hair is thin, and his stomach isn't. If I hadn't seen that movie (seventy times) would I have thought that guy was funny? Would I have thought him mentionable? Duh. Of course not. Because it's only the reflection of comedy that makes him comical. Okay, and the outfit. And the fists on hips. But it's the whole picture that makes him -- wait. He just turned his head, and he has the mustache. A skinny one. I'm trying not to giggle, because someone passing by might currently be thinking what a hard-working grownup I am right now. I'd hate to disabuse anyone of that notion.

So the point? I forget. Let's keep talking about that Kip guy. Having something relatable makes stories better.

Never fear: this is not a tirade.

Once I did a school visit where I talked to the kids about Truth and Fiction. Someday I'll write it all up without the "Yeah" and the "Um" and the "Seriously, kid? Is that what you think?" parts. But my point (about that) is that Fiction isn't the opposite of truth. Fiction is the rearrangement of truth. What we love about fiction is the truth that speaks to us underneath the story. We talked, the school kids and I, about Harry Potter. About the true parts (Everyone wants to go home to a safe place. It's valiant to fight against Evil. We want to be connected, especially when we feel different than everyone around us. It's hard to be in the middle of a fight between best friends. Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a bad guy. Good intentions aren't enough. Like that.) and about the clearly made-up parts. We talked about Twilight, about the true parts (teenage girls are attracted to dangerous guys) and the not true parts (it's totally okay for a girl to have her ice-cold undead boyfriend sleep with her in her bed, because nothing's going to happen).

And that's where I like to go when I'm writing. I like to know something true (a family can be built, it's not something that's just going to happen) or something that I hope is true (I am okay, even if I'm not feeling it right now) or even something that I want to be true (love wins) and work it in with things that are not necessarily real. Words become relatable. It creates a reaction - sometimes an explosion (usually just laughter, though) and suddenly it's more than it was. Heads nod. Maybe there are giggles. Maybe frustration. Maybe tears.

It's Fiction. It's Truth. It's Story. It's Real. It's Fun.

Okay, enough. Time to write.


  1. One of my favorite quotes is "artists use lies to paint the truth." Basically, fiction is the medium where we are often honest. I find that in my own writing and I love it when I find it in others. And BTW, you TOTALLY pull that off. You have some of the most honest, heart-true things I've ever read, anywhere.

  2. Congrats on the 100th post. And no one, no matter how grown up they are, should even TRY to look like a hard-working adult when in Hawaii.

    Your mom goes to college!

  3. the difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense... unless, perhaps, you are writing for the Pink Floyd crowd.

    Colts are playing well enough to hold off the self-destructing Ravens. Go Patey-pie!

    Kip? He may be the weirdest fictional brother ever! Like anyone could actually know that!

  4. Love this post, Becca. You said it so well, tangents and all!


If you want to say it, I want to hear it. Bring it on.