Drizzly old week. Often that’s a good writing week, because it means I’m not tempted by the garden. This week has been mixed, some recovery, some writing, and a bit of werriting.
My new course feels a little like my old course, lots of exercises on character sketching, and on using memory. But as I’m writing, I know that I have changed. I don’t search for a clever word, or sparkling phrase. I want to distill the essence of the character, to tell you what they cannot speak aloud. I’ve read an interesting piece by Alison McLeod, about writing and risk taking, and the concern we have over what people may think of us, when they read what we have written. This was a little flag to me. I’m very reserved, concerned about my public persona. We all are I suppose, even if our person is “I don’t care what people think”, that itself becomes a mask. Writing carries the danger that the image I create may be challenged, and my awareness of this affects how I write. It certainly affects what I want the public to read. Mcleod goes on to say that risks in writing need to be for a purpose, not just sensation, and need as much talent and skill as possible. Otherwise, of course, I will have just created another mask.
All this thinking is well and good, but is it improving my writing? Yes, is the short answer. I’m writing more honestly, but also more critically. Asking “What if ?”, asking how my character would behave in other situations is giving me a person who feels more real, and who I feel I am getting to know through the writing process. I’m also aware of the difference rediscovering poetry has made. I am less afraid to move away from a normal structure, and more aware of how the shape and style of piece of prose can enhance it’s meaning. I feel as though something has shifted back in my brain, and I’m thinking like myself again.
In short, I’m enjoying it all a great deal. Despite the drizzle.