01.30.19

Vortex

Posted in On writing, Writers at 10:26 am by Marion

I’ve written a few times about what it feels like to write fiction, the sensation of falling into darkness, of dissociation, of becoming “unhinged,” or untethered from the concrete world of sensations.

As we await the polar vortex being pressed into the U.S. from the Arctic, as heavy air pushes it down, there we feel time slow down. We feel something coming, and we must wait for it to arrive, with undetermined consequences.

Much like writing, which descends on us, subsumes us, and causes us to wait for the unknown effects. Once it lands on us, if we invite it in, we disappear into its vortex, just as Chicago and the midwest, really into the South, become encased in Arctic temperatures.

The freezing can feel a lot like death, but we know there is life even in the desert of ice. Mostly it holds on for signs of life, and with writing, that is you, Dear Reader.

01.28.19

The Dark Side

Posted in On writing, Writers at 10:01 am by Marion

I am working on a short story exploring fears, nightmares, and dark images. It feels uncomfortable to write out thoughts we’d rather hide, images inside us we deny. If we dunk ourselves too much into darkness, can we emerge? Does it change us? That explains why I rarely write about dark thoughts; I fear becoming consumed somehow by them, that they will become real, and take over.

Still, they form a part of my creative mind, and writing at its most interesting examines every part of being human, living as a sentient being part spirit part body part thinker. To see what’s hidden, yet what makes us complex, and to portray it – but artfully.

Another aspect of short story writing is the ability to finish within a clear period of time. Working on the novel for years now it has become almost overwhelming. Every time I pick it back up I have to review my characters, what’s going on, where we are heading. By that time, I’ve used up a half hour at least, and it all seems for naught. And I go wash dishes or walk the dogs instead.

With a short story, I feel able to accomplish, to complete, a work. So I will wrap up this dark story this week, I hope.

01.25.19

The work life-life’s work balance

Posted in Buddhism, Dreams, Life in general, On writing, Writers at 12:42 pm by Marion

I’ve written about the difficulty of writing and having any other type of activities in a day. Another aspect of writing, perhaps less known, is the mental disappearance that can happen.

When we sit down to write, we willingly break with the so-called “real” world, that is, the world that appears solid to us. The world we can touch, smell, hear, see. The world that has bills, meetings, and schedules.

To write means to cut ties with this world, and have the mind entirely free of any other thought. That’s self-evident.

What many people don’t know – including writers, that is, until we’re neck deep into a novel or story – is that writing also requires a break with another world, the world of our own mind. The world of our own sanity. The world where we are in charge, and events happen in someone predictable, or logical ways.

When we let go to submerse ourselves in writing, the break required to really create shifts our inner identity off its base, then shatters the base, and leaves us hanging.

When we are hanging in that way, adrift, maybe terrified, that we find art.

01.15.19

Disappearing Writer

Posted in Life in general, On writing, Press, Writers at 11:31 am by Marion

One aspect of writing that’s difficult to describe, is that we disappear when we write. That’s one of the toughest requirements, or should I say fallout, from writing. To do so requires a person to vacate their own life, their own mind, their own daily activities. In their place, the writer inserts stories about other people, and their struggles, goals, and nightmares.

In the meantime, the real person, the physical writer, sits at a desk. Hours pass, even days. Dishes accumulate; the floor needs to be vacuumed; the bed sits unmade. Calls go unreturned, and of course, bill pile up.

Life outside the writer’s mind continues.

But the writer agrees to exit life, to create this other thing, this other living body, this story, this novel, this essay.

It’s an uncomfortable choice, but a goal that compels me to it.

01.14.19

Niched

Posted in Kerouac, Life in general, On writing, Running, Writers at 9:06 am by Marion

I’ve started a new short story. It started as a look into a recurring nightmare which over time I realized was also my worst fear.

It seemed interesting to explore it, to examine all the thoughts tied in with that recurring dream. I also described what happened in the dream, as well as my responses to it.

Once I explored the recurring dream, people emerged, deep ideas, fears, and emotions. I found the short story has taken off.

Yet what I’ve figured out is that the story will be a chiller, a “suspense” piece, and clearly a niche work.

Why do we do that? Why do we consider Science Fiction, Horror, Detective, and other types of stories to be “genre” fiction?

Is not one of our greatest writers, Edgar Allen Poe, a “genre” writer? Have you actually read Poe? Today, his work would be shunted into a category, and never see daylight.

So my horror story is in progress. When I have a draft, I’ll put it up.

01.03.19

Walking into My Dreams

Posted in Dreams, Life in general, On writing at 10:28 am by Marion

SPOILER ALERT: This post is about a process, so I won’t write specifically about my dreams or nightmares. Not yet. The novel will comprise these images, sensations, and events.

I have a nightmare. It haunts me, in the way dreams can. How do dreams unsettle us? They put us in a world we do not choose and we must suddenly make sense of. In dreams we sense a presence of beings who impart to us general sensations. In turn, we feel vague responses.

My feelings in dreams come fast, and they are of two kinds:
POSITIVE
– an overwhelming sense of peace
– knowing I am loved
– romantic love
– subsumption in the divine

NEGATIVE
– terror
– unease
– sadness (such as dreaming one of my dogs or cats dies, family member)
– THIS ONE IS HUGE: shame

Shame forms the basis of my worst, recurring, nightmare.

TO BE CONTINUED ….

01.01.19

New Year’s Day 2019

Posted in Life in general at 8:16 am by Marion

Update: I had a sudden urge to run and got in 5.3 miles this morning after all.

The New Year rolled in, and I saw it this year. I spent the last day of the year running 11.25 miles through Charlotte. Last night, I attended my cousin’s wedding, then enjoyed a vegan dinner, dancing, and revelry.

I hoped to run this morning to start the year, but it’s just not in me this morning. I only slept a few hours, and today is the long drive home.

Tomorrow I plan to really start my New Year. I hope it is a time of personal change and growth. Among my goals are writing more, eating better, and reaching my running goal of 1,500 miles (that’s 500 miles by April, and 1,000 by August).

I’d also like to be more focused in general. Pare down material possessions, spend more time with friends, family, and my beautiful animals.

The first part of the year brings a couple of concerts – Sean Lennon in DC, then Shaky Knees Festival in May.

I’m looking forward to spending 2019 with you, FD readers.