My Sources Tell me.....Nothing!
I realize this topic is a worn one, but I recently discovered--no: EXPERIENCED--that I have so many sources it's unbelievable to me now, how I never saw or heard them before.
I used to get up and complain that I HAD no sources...from anywhere--zilch--nada--nothing, nohow...I was wrong! Had I experienced sooner what I did recently, I would have had as many novels as Philip Roth by now...
But first, let me explain how I as a writer attempt to ... begin writing each morning. Most mornings I begin like this: I don't. I sit and wring my hands, and foolishly ask myself: are you SURE you're a writer? Because if you are, shouldn't you be able to write naturally? If you're a writer how come you have no sources from whence come your motives, your passion, your inspiration?
Why aren't you sitting in front of your computer writing instead of your office window eating your breakfast and watching your neighbors across the way, driving off to work?
Are you sure you're a writer? Do you think Philip Roth has this problem?
Do you think Dave Eggers has this problem?
Do you think Marianne Williamson has this problem?
Do YOU have a problem?
Are you just lazy and don't want to look for a job?
Finally, I answer myself: I AM a writer! I AM! I AM!
I just don't have enough sources; I don't have fodder to fuel my mind; I don't have cooperation from the universe; I can't find my equilibrium, maybe I should take up yoga...maybe [a second?] breakfast will help....maybe I should go walking from here to eternity down the road. THEN I will think of something else!
This phenomenon is called block! My first reaction is blockhead! The dictionary calls this term by its true meaning: a stupid person.
Or maybe, just a person who doesn't have it together; doesn't know which way is up, or down, or all around, or something or nothing or other or other, or....... Okay, I'm losing it!
I call it: the calm before a storm. I find myself in the eye of the hurricane--another way I see it--writing as a hurricane of creativity, and a voice with fire in it, while the calm is a hesitation to admit what the subconscious is thinking but not telling me...
That is to say that I may have begun a story and waded into it a hundred pages or more, then suddenly: calm...no waves of thought...no movement in mind...complete and utter calm....no idea where I go from there.
I have to go back to yesterday's post: about Philip Roth. Something else I got from his interview with the Raab fellow. I noticed that on the lines of information, Raab would ask Roth "What's that?" and Roth would answer, "I used to play here, with Arnie, the fellow across the way. He had a dog, Jews never had dogs or pets in those days...." and then he proceeded to recollect issues about his childhood. Not monumental, life-changing, traumatic events. Just casual, calm, routine events of life. And then he would attach the event to parts of his novels of the past. So FINALLY! I read between the lines....THERE are your sources, blockhead!
I know I've heard this before, but I must have forgotten for about five years leading to my present styimie. This here deadlock doesn't have to be. I need only look around, I've got so many stories, telltales, anecdotes, I could be writing from now until 50 years from now (if I could live that much longer). But here's the REAL crux of the matter: once you have all that knowledge and awakening of your sources, then what? Hello! You have to KNOW how to write.
You don't just transcribe verbatim the stories: two reasons. One: you can get sued for defamation of character. Two: most instances, it could promise to be fairy boring a tale, if not delivered in a creative way. Here is where the "writer" mentality comes in.
A REAL WRITER can tell stories, yes. You might say: so can anyone. What makes a writer a writer and a damn good one, is that he/she can yarn the story with panache, creative intellect, spirit, color, and chemistry that awakens the readers' senses. THAT, my dear friend reader, is what makes a writer. Not that she/he can write it down--even profusely--but that she/he can write it down in such a way that a reader wants to read more...
I rest my case. I can no longer spew: my sources tell me...nothing! My sources have been singing to me, the stoolie, like birds just released from the cage, sing to their wild friends. It's up to me, to get it out to the good guys: the readers. I just wasn't listening very well, and now that I've listened, I wasn't planning my strategy about the stories either. Now. The hard part begins. I take the source information and make it exciting to the reader, so they enjoy life just a little bit better. Higher than before. That's my job: I'm a writer.