My first real boyfriend was a cat burglar. For all his bluster, bravado and insane immaturity, lay the fine tuned mind of an analyst. After researching his target and devising a plan, there came the protracted amount of time where he played the 'what if?' game. For every possible outcome he could think of, or get his surrounding people to think of, he devised the strategies necessary to overcome them. He was relatively successful in this method.
But alas, for all his fine honed thinking, that which escaped him is what eventually became his downfall. Predicting that a routine traffic stop, several days later, would inadvertently turn the fuzz on to the spoils of the crime was not in the playbook.
Prior to meeting him, I was like pretty much any other teenager that could give two shits over the concept of 'if this, then that'. You don't realize the freedom devoid of consequence thinking until you become the complete and total polar opposite. Where life, experience and other grand events become nothing but 'if this, then that'. I think the psychological term is 'projecting'.
In the practical state of mind, one realizes that repeatedly put your hand on a hot stove means you are stupid as fuck, but refusing to even check the stove at all means cowardice. Where the fuck is the happy medium that I keep hearing about? I either jump without a parachute or cower in the corner. It continues despite 'knowing' that which is likely to snag me down or lift me up is as unpredictable as a routine traffic stop. That's how Murphy operates, that's how it really works.
This kind of crap hasn't turned me completely phobic yet, but it sure is a battle. I cope with minor strategies such the advise given by 'Wear Sunscreen' – do something that scares you every day. I live in a foreign country, so finding those minor challenges is a breeze.
So points and prickles of this kind of thing touches every part of my life. Pain hungry emotional masochism doesn't help either. But it is what it is. I know what I want and if I'm too unbalanced to get there, then I fall. Nothing new.
But this Wall, this Obstacle, this Fucker also adversely effects my writing.
I fantasize and observe. The two activities in tandem produce the characters, the stories. That's it. Pretty simple.
The imaginary landscape in my head was hatched early on and became the place of choice during a childhood that could best be summed up as 'indifferent'. The places, people and activities that, to me, were the cure to indifference. Of course, then puberty arrives and the mind becomes a pornographic sweat bath of confusion. Experience and people leave their mark, maturity comes around and voila – a veritable cornucopia of worlds, people, tales and idiosyncratic details with a generous allotment of naked time.
I find the next day's scene here, the next place to take the story and then come back and write it. Again, pretty damn simple.
Early on, I did a lot of surface writing. My characters lacked a certain relevance to the human condition because I had to yet to practice that art of digging deep. I don't think any single piece of fiction is a blanket of 'digging deep'; but in those scenes that made you cry, made your heart soar, fucked you up several days afterward or seemed particularly unfair – there lies a writer somewhere gasping on the floor, twitching and one step closer to a heroin habit or playing it like Hemingway.
My first time was ten years ago writing the thoughts of my character as she waited in an elevator. Damn it hurt and I was blotchy after wards, but it made her stand up and breathe just like she was a part of the human race.
And each time I've done so since, it's been worth it and it shows in the quality of the writing.
In my current project, I have a scene to finish. The first half is written, the second half is making me freeze like a deer in oncoming traffic. Once completed, the scene will be Fucking Beautiful, oh...so awesome, so real, so hauntingly lovely.
Oh, but that damn bad boy is gonna hurt in the doing. No getting around it. But just HOW bad, there is no way of knowing coz I haven't done it yet!
And in the 'if this, then that' world, I've 'lived' the writing of this scene a thousand times, rolled around in the projected pain, shed tears for something that hasn't happen yet and found every reason, excuse (including writing this fucking blog) and people to blame on not doing it.
It's so damn stupid to pay the price over and over again for something that doesn't even exist and then use the very same sabotage to excuse doing nothing.
Part Two coming soon.
(make that tomorrow. I'm done with the book.)
(I will never tell you how to write, I'm barely smart enough to figure it out for myself. If you want to learn from someone who really knows, I recommend Annie Lamont or Donald Maas.)