It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. My screenwriting class begins on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 16:40. In the meantime, I’m struggling to find a viable process that works for me in writing fiction. I have plenty of pens and notebooks. I have a typewriter. I have a word processor. I have a writing space and time to write (one of the lucky ones–perhaps too lucky because I tend to think I have all the time in the world and I can keep putting things off. What a fatal delusion!) So why am I having such a hard time? Other writers are churning out material. No one seems to be daunted at all by the fact that everything in the world is in upheaval.
But then, I guess it could be said that the world has always been in upheaval. That’s life. If I were philosophical, I’d say that too.
I’m in that phase of writing where I laze around mulling over and riffling through the unbelievable onslaught of stimulus that my brains scrambles to filter so I don’t go bat-crap insane (I’m beginning to think my filters are failing). I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke tobacco. I do drink coffee, my drug of choice. I have scores of notebooks filled with thoughts, quotes, advice found in writing books, and other bits. I have access to all the input (radio, newspapers, personal history, eavesdropping, etc.) that everyone else had. I have terrible ADD. I can’t afford therapy, so I write. It’s truly a curse to be a writer with ADD in a world of upheaval.
Does anyone out there share this problem?
By problem I mean: What, out of all the mess that’s called “life” in these “modern times,” is worth devoting months and years to write about? It’s like being thirsty in the midst of a flood. How do I sort through all of this? There are no foundations, no rules of thumb, no “authorities” (author-ities!) any more. There is only one crisis after another, many going on simultaneously.
I’m sitting here at my desk looking out of the upstairs window of my flat and I can see a black and white cat cross the busy street below over and over again. He just pads across the asphalt, nonchalant as can be. At eleven this morning I must take the family cat into the vet. She’s probably dying in her own time of old age. Can’t keep food down; has accidents on the carpet every day. She’s anywhere from eleven to fifteen years old. Her time may be near.
And the radio is on, a talk show host interviewing peace activist Colonel Ann Wright about her participation in the war crimes trial at Massachusetts Law School at Andover involved in the prosecution of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney for war crimes. Listening to Robert Creeley’s poems read into the mic by a street activist.
I’m working through Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint and Heather Sellers’ Page After Page in my effort to whittle down some of the chaos in my brain. I have an entire shelf devoted to books like this, books I read and re-read every year, marking them up, trying to apply some of their suggestions to my own writing. But mostly they just confuse me more than I already am. In my browser I have several feet-worth of writers’ websites bookmarked (most discovered via Stumble!). I’m reading three or four works of fiction. I watch movies. I try to observe what’s going on around me (but my attention span sucks).
These next few days and weeks I’m going to decipher the precise reasons I’m having such a difficult time writing a true work of fiction. I figure that once I know what the disease is, I can treat it.
In the meantime, such is my current state of writing chaos.