Tag Archives: decisions

Mixed Messages

There’s a lot of writing advice out there. If you’re the type of reader I am, you would have said, “no shit” after you read that sentence. However, it embarrassingly bears repeating as I still find many new writers (sometimes myself) unsure on how to move themselves with their words.  I’ve observed quite a few people, and it seems now I understand what happens.

People are a variation on a theme. We have similar experiences, traits, emotions, languages, and so on. On the other hand we have different interpretations based on those experiences, traits, emotions, languages, etc. Two people could experience the same event and come away with two different thoughts. These thoughts and reactions are not to be considered infinite, as there’s a reason emotions can be displayed on a wheel, there are only so many words in the English language and languages on the planet. There will be some common ground for everyone.

However, what I find when listening to authors is advice can contradict one another. For example, let’s take quote from Anaïs Nin:

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.

Now let’s sidle that up against a commencement speech with Neil Gaiman:

These paths are very different. One is that of a quasi-Quaker speaking when the spirit moves her, and the other is the that of the child constantly writing but only when it isn’t work. How does that work? Simple, it doesn’t.

What needs to happen is that the writer needs to take charge of his or her life and respond to what resonates. That requires more thought on the part of the writer, as they are the ones who know themselves better than anyone else (or so I’d hope). It’s like going to the doctor and being diagnosed with an illness you know isn’t right. Why? Because you are feeling the symptoms first hand and are asking a secondary source to tell you what is wrong. Granted, there are some very good diagnostic doctors out there, but I only have access to the budget variety. No offense, doc, but your services aren’t sterling.

This whole notion of tailoring advice reminds me of a brilliant young writer I caught on here trying to decode Ernest Hemingway. In his own right, he has made valuable contributions to literature. That’s something I acknowledge, even if I think he’s a pompous windbag. He also spoke in what I call “red herring,” a dialect Hell bent on confusing you. This is one of the reasons I severely dislike Joyce, by the way. When speaking in riddles, please don’t feed the egos. I’m convinced if this young author took a step back and listened for advice not coming from big-name writers, her personal picture would have been much more clear.

I will shoot you right between the eyes and say I am neither a Nin, Gaiman, or Hemingway. I am the machine. I am the gun steel mecha-man that needs to crank and crank and crank and crank and work and work and work and work but evaluates what he’s cranking out and is only satisfied when it dazzles him. That’s my path to achievement, but it very well may never be yours. That’s for you to decide. It’s your rodeo, after all.

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She was in luck; the rain held off long enough for her to put the last piece of furniture into the truck. There was a saying in Otterville, “the weather was like a woman: it changes its mind every minute.” She could say the same thing about her ex. Now there was a chapter in her life she didn’t want changing.

The awkwardly large keys fit all too well into the ignition. It was worn with excessive use. People probably like her, she thought, eager to start a new life somewhere else. A flick of the wrist made the diesel engine come to life and chatter like a hand mixer on the side of a ceramic bowl. This batter would be far sweeter.

Within no time, she was out on the road. The grey sky gave some secrecy to her escape, like a blanket hiding a child from a closet monster. Serena’s monster doesn’t move, it just fades from the skyline the further anyone goes in a single direction.

“I’m not sure where I’m going,” she conceded as she lit her cigarette. She thought real hard for a moment of what the next step would be. Time didn’t allow her to plan that far ahead. As if the divine could read her thoughts, a break in the clouds appeared in the southwest. Sunlight pieced the greyness that seemed to envelop the entire town. “I can take a hint,” she said with a puff and banked the moving truck on to the interstate.

A sign off the side of the road read “Now Leaving Otterville.”

“Not soon enough,” she replied and tuned into a country station playing Johnny Cash.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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