Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where to Put Things

"I don't know where to put things, ya know? I really do have love to give. I just don't know where to put it." - Quiz Kid Donnie Smith

   I've been trying to learn how to write for roughly fourteen years. But for the most part I've kept the results of those efforts to myself. That doesn't mean that I have thousands of pages of writing hidden away in my closet. I don't. I have hundreds of pages at best, and most of that would be meaningless to anybody but me.

   Throughout those fourteen years there have been long stretches of time in which I wrote nothing. Though there have never been long stretches of time in which I did not think about writing.

   Fiction is what I want to write. There is a desperation in my gut to make that happen. But that desperation rarely succeeds in traveling from my gut to my fingertips. It happens, but not often.

   I can't give a full explanation of why I want to write fiction. I know that it started with falling in love with literature that was written by others. I know that I saw those writers use fiction to engage the more difficult aspects of living. I saw them use their characters and stories to explore the dark and disturbing elements within themselves. And I wanted that for myself. I still do. I also know that that explanation is far from complete.

   I created this blog in October of 2009. In April of 2011, I finally started using it. I wasn't sure what I'd do with it. I don't see myself using this space for fiction. But I felt like I needed to put something out into the world. I needed to get comfortable with the idea of other people reading the thoughts that I've put down.

   I also needed to develop some discipline. I needed a routine. A writer has to write. The fiction will not be there every day. It isn't there most days. But there is always something in my head. When the fiction isn't there, I can write on other topics. On the days that I can't seem to dig deep, I can sort through the things that are a little closer to the surface. That keeps the fingers moving.

   Sometimes I think the experiment has been a fruitful one. I've been writing almost every morning for the past few months. But I do question it too. Am I settling for the easy stuff too often? Most days I don't even try to write any fiction. I just go straight to the blog. Have I created a cheap and hollow replica of my honest desires? Am I settling for something less than what I want, because I'm afraid of the real thing?

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