Sunday, August 20, 2017

Saving yesterdays

I haven't been a steady journal-keeper; I've tended to write more at stressful times in my life, or during events that I suspected would be historic, or when traveling. Consequently, I have many notebooks and pieces of notebooks and stray pages from various times. One of my part-time projects--on which I spend an hour here, an hour there--is consolidating those journals into one coherent whole. 

As I go, I discover records of events I'd forgotten but can recall when prompted by the journals, as well as events I've wholly forgotten. There are a few people referred to by first name only whom I can no longer identify.

There are so many days we live through and then utterly forget. A journal can save a few of them for us. Some of these days, honestly, I am happy to let go of; others I'm happy to retrieve. Maybe it's good to forget so much. Everything is impermanent; carpe diem; live for today. I'm not sure how much yesterday matters. I'm saving some yesterdays just in case.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Listening

I haven't posted as frequently lately, and it's because I'm in a listening/reading phase. I go through times like this, when I am writing less and absorbing more. Reading a lot, thinking, preferring silence to speech. Feeling as if my ideas are half-formed, not ready for expression. I can feel them taking shape, but they're still lumps of raw dough rather than cookies. 

(I do love cooking/food metaphors for writing!)

August has always struck me as a meditative month, a good time to be in this frame of mind. The weather is warm and mellow, the days are still long, and the cicadas and crickets issue their endless waves of music.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Creative stretch

I used to do all sorts of creative-stretch projects, dipping my toe into forms and genres I wasn't trying to master just for the experience, for the fun of it, to try something new. At writers' conferences, I would take workshops that directly related to my immediate career goals, but I would also typically squeeze in a session on something farther afield : op-eds, poetry, screenplays. My second published novel grew out of an attempt at writing a verse novel. It was a form I knew I would be unlikely to excel at (and indeed, the book quickly morphed into prose), but just trying it may have freed up some extra wellsprings of creativity.

For the past year and a half, I've been keeping a journal as such an exercise. It's been working, mostly because I only ask 100 words of myself per day, and because I don't strive to write for anyone else's approval. This enabled me to play a bit with writing, in a way that I haven't in a long while.

Freedom, play, experimentation are key components of creative stretches. And I think it may be time for another stretch. For me at least, it's important to keep the creative fires stoked, to feed my long-term growth as a writer in addition to making progress on short-term practical goals. I'm kicking around some ideas.

Do you ever need a creative detour?