Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Fictional Self

The blinking cursor on a blank page is an obvious taunt.

It sits there, mocking, announcing it's readiness repeatedly as you stare dumbly at the screen uttering an internal  monologue of "uh... um... er..."

I've been missing my escape lately, consumed by that pesky thing called reality (i.e. work in one form or another) and I just haven't been able to throw myself into the story, even if only for a few minutes.  For the last two weeks or so, every time I switch over to the current story I'm working on, that damned cursor starts blinking at me and I get distracted - realize I have something else to do, something else to dominate my time, my attention.

Even now as I dedicate just a few minutes to rant, rave and ramble about my neglected pastime, I can think of at least four other things that I could be doing, should be doing.

But I have to have some "me" time, right?  You know what they say about all work and no play... right?
New York City - 3/9/2013

Time versus inspiration: at the moment, I'm only lacking one.  For me, when I'm working on a story, inspiration isn't really hard to come by - it all stems from what got me into writing in the first place.

Have you ever watched a movie or a television show, or even reading a book, and wished a twist had turned a different way?  Wished that something else would happen, that another outcome would occur - that a different hero would prevail?

Without a doubt, I have a vivid imagination.  I'm an only child and I was raised to read, raised to think.  Add that mentality to the digital age, an over consumption of information, communication, and interpretation at my fingertips... and I became the neurotic over-thinker you see before you today.

I end up getting a story, a scenario, a scene, a moment stuck in my head - one that I can change, twist, and turn into whatever I want... so... why don't I?

In an interview I saw years ago, a soap opera actress once said that it wasn't necessarily the stories that were compelling, but the people within those stories, their reactions, responses, the way it resonates - because each person is different and will respond to the same situation differently.

The concept stuck with me.

Whenever I'm facing that writer plague that will not be named (cough-writer's-block-cough), all I have to do is re-read a scene I've already written.  Before long, I realize these people - this world I've created - needs to continue in this direction or that, something needs to happen - no, that's not quite right - something has already happened, I just need to put it down on the page.  The fodder is there, I just need to figure out where it leads me.

It's frustrating at times, but I don't write in a straight line.

That would be boring.

While my fictional self is rearing to go - pawing at the ground in impatient anticipation while I just can't get the rest of me to commit.  It's a spattering of an ongoing assault to plastic keyboard keys in the pursuit of surreal excellence, and I miss it.  (Can you tell?)  In the meantime, I hold secure to a few solid truths.

I don't have to write the next great American novel.  Above anything else, all I have to do is let a story play out.  The people, the emotions, the resonance will follow, because everyone is different, even if the situation is the same.

Now...  if only I could wrap up everything else I have to do in a neat little bow so I could let my inner fiction writer out of her cage to play.

She's getting restless I tell ya, who knows what the fallout will be.

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