Working on a couple of writing projects, I’ve had to examine my own writing process. I hadn’t done this in any kind of meaningful way since my failed experiment over two years ago when I tried to not write. From the apparently superficial, like where and how I prefer to write, to what I’m trying to accomplish both internally and publicly with my writing.
How I write too, has been looked at, analysed. This post’s title comes from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Sometimes, I look for a piece of writing that I really admire for its beauty and technical skill with language, and copy it word for word on my laptop. It’s the writing equivalent of taking a machine apart to see how it was put together. Sometimes the machine is beautifully refined, like a well-made mechanical watch, sometimes it’s crude, and I feel like I’m smashing it apart rather than carefully dissecting. Most of the time, I find inspiration and help with getting over writer’s block when I do copy other authors’ works. Other times, I’m discouraged by my inability to play with language at the level of skill reflected in the source. With my own writing, I’m ultimately looking for the ghost in the machine, the source of the angst within my narratives, my own personal myth.
Investigating lofty abstract concepts like truth, death, knowledge and the meaning of life as explored/reflected in my writing. Representations of truth, ways of knowing, the significance of death and the why-bother? of everything.
I’m also trying to find ways with dealing with the emotional cost of writing. A current project has me looking at suicide magnets (physical spaces that draw people to commit suicide) and thin places (supposedly, sites where the membrane between Earth and Heaven – or this dimension and others – is thin). A lot of darkness in the writing, which of course happens only at night, leaving me drained and with my dreams. The surreal hyperviolent dreams have come back again.
Another project examines rejection. Once again, heavy, intense and a complete downer. I need to find an outlet, but for now, I’m finding reprieve working on children’s stories that are lighter and have happy endings. I’m definitely feeling a pull to get back to Self – thanks to a long period of instability, Darkness and uncertainty, I’ve become removed, cut-off. Now, I’m isolating in a different way, withdrawing from my social sphere so I can concentrate on my self and my work. On the complete other endpoint of the pendulum’s swing.
The major undertaking has been exhausting too, the cause of way too many late nights playing catch-up, trying to meet deadlines and anxiety-induced insomnia. The stress from trying to survive and thrive is seeping into other areas of my life, throwing me completely off balance. The physical has been affected negatively too, the stress manifesting in aches and pains. It’s been a while since my body has been pain-free.
In great news, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing and there has been movement at crazy speeds. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when I reach my destination.