5 hours ago
A playground of many muses.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, spells summer like the first long weekend of the year--Memorial Day weekend is finally here and thankfully, it is warm enough to be sitting out on my patio this morning, working on what will be the end of The View from 29... I will be posting the final pieces up by Monday, though some may come between now and then.
It seems like the right time. I'm really wanting to focus my time and energies in writing on a more personal piece--not that the View did not and has not been a very personal journey for me in many, many ways, but I feel a greater "calling" as lame ass cliches go. I feel a very strong need to work on what has been affectionately nicknamed "the grandfather stories" by my friends. Much like its moniker, that is precisely what the project is--the fictionalized accounts that I have been able to pull from people and what I remember hearing as I was growing up. I began in October of last year and am now, finally, ready to dive headlong into it.
I sent out an email to my family and friends this last week, letting them know about the sooner than planned View end--and the responses I've gotten are very sweet, very nice and very much appreciated. I don't feel bad about leaving behind my chick lit lifestyle for the time being; you learn much more from writing when you make it public than just the process and experience. Your writing becomes a reflection on you that even though people close to you know it isn't necessarily true, the expectation comes that you will live up to an ideal. In some ways, that can be fun--like flirting with fantasy. Then there are the days that you hear the guy behind the counter at the establishment you are in whisper to his co-worker that, "Oh my god, that is Nikki Barr, she writes a website, I partied with her once." Yeah, I've partied with a lot of people--once; sometimes once is one time too many.
The other day, I was talking about writing with a friend who also writes and we had a great conversation that writing isn't really a process as it is how you live your life. Great writers know that in order to live, you have to write, but, in order to write, you have to live. A favorite quote of mine on writing comes from Henry David Thoreau:
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
I remember the first time I read Thoreau (Walden); I believe it was in the ninth grade, I found it torturous and could not understand why someone would do what he did, but as time passed, I fell in love with the notion and gained a deeper understanding. There is a fine line for a writer between writing it and living it. I was reminded by a co-worker about Hemingway--who would write until he had to drink the rest of the day. It was a humorous analogy in the context of the conversation at the time, but it fits here, too. Writing is not just something we do, it is part of how we breathe. Yes, I'm vain enough to put myself into the same category as Thoreau and Hemingway because, like them, I could not function without writing.
People who are writers have to write, there is no other way to function. Ironically, it is this need, and this ultimate basic drive that has caused the downfall of so many... writers are like pirates: we are trapped by what ultimately frees us. Woolf, Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Plath... Wikipedia actually has a good start on a list of writers who have committed suicide, this however, does not include those like Capote, Kerouac, Poe and Dylan Thomas who died of alcoholism. A quick Google of writers and alcoholism will find over a million entries on the "unproven" correlation. Some cite a possible creativity link, some look at IQ levels... all of it done really without a clue because they have never lived inside of it. That is really all I can say about it--I certainly understand it, it doesn't mean that I can explain it to anyone.
Writers know some truths cannot be exposed via words.
Tonight I won't be alone, but you know that don't mean I not lonely.When I heard that line, that I've heard hundreds of times before, I thought of it in another context. Admittedly fixated on how to break out of my funk, I often have to process the real reason for being there... and when it comes to the book I'm currently writing, it occurred to me this afternoon, I will (once again) miss writing this character. Those who have had the honor and indeed privilege of previewing this book, or are familiar with my earlier self-published tome, know that I write in first person, and that character, while not me, is at times reminiscent of things I may say. I might even use her to voice things I would never say in real life. Like the last time I finished up this character's story, I missed her. Writing characters you have to know them better than you know anything else and they all become a part of you to some extent. So, while I fully intend to pick up the pen to ink a new one, I will miss her until she's resurrected to her next set of adventures later on.