“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
Octavia E. Butler
So, How About Writing?
First of all, big grats to my brother for Profound Living: Essays, Images, and Poetry. It is quite the accomplishment and he and his gang saw it through from the start to the end. Well done.
I’ve been writing fiction lately. And it is more time at the keyboard than I’ve ever spent before in my life except for the long periods of accreditation time on our campus. That was non-fiction for the most part with a little hedging to look good.
But, I know I’m not writing anything good. At the novice stage, I look and hope for those rare times when I get hot for ten minutes and the words write themselves. Maybe someday I’ll get to the point where I think something is worth sharing.
There is a scene in the movie Trumbo. Our hero has been blacklisted from Hollywood and he is barely making a living by writing screenplays for King Pictures. Gun Moll type movies and shoot-em-ups and things like that. One day he shows up with a smile on his face, he tells the guy (John Goodman) that he has a script and then he says “it’s good.” And it was, he won the Oscar for best screenplay for The Brave One.
That’s what I’m talking about. Even at blogging, there are maybe two times or three that I have sat down with a compelling idea (at least to me) and wrote something that I thought was “good” and worth reading. And praise the blogging experience, it serves the writing chore.
I think that it is fun to write for myself. In my mind I might have an audience of one. I know that as soon as I imagine an audience of ten that the filters kick in and I censor myself and get vague and fear to offend. And, Hemmingway have mercy, there are a lot of filters; religion, language, politics. Softening the blow is mandatory for a live audience, even if it is a sympathetic one.
And: I’d expect you to come back at me. Writing with plentiful filters is the task. That is what writing is when you want to be read, you do have to consider the comfort levels of your audience. Like I said, someday I might be ready for that.
I think that many ignore or are unaware of how much time writers have spent at their typewriters. They have piles and folders of stuff that never was shared. Exercises or ideas to come back to or things that faded and went nowhere; and that is the saved stuff, not the trash can stuff.
So, for the moment I’m enjoying the hot streaks and hoping for more. I’m wishing that someday I’ll come up with something and write it out and be able to say, like Trumbo, “it’s good”.