On writing.

Right. In trying to get back to this whole writing lark I just spent a good 20 minutes scribbling perhaps the dullest blog post by anyone, ever. It was originally a long reflection on my current obsession with travelling long distances in winged metal sausages but ending up being a note by note account of how I got to Japan and why my life has been so crushingly disappointing since. A bloo bloo no-one cares. Here I am again then, typing something that I at least hope is readable.

When I was a virginal innocent of 18 (I was a late bloomer) my writing was unconcerned with stylistic choices, narrative through-lines or the inherently circular nature of human psychological frameworks. I didn’t worry about appealing to a specific demographic or invoking primal fears. I wrote stuff down because I enjoyed writing stuff down. I liked the idea that I could conjure up all these little men, women and the occasional alien (late bloomer) who would dance to my tune. More than that, they only existed because by jove I told them to. “Stick your finger up your nose, even though the Love Interest is watching!” I’d shout. And he would. “Make a critical tactical error that will lead to your eventual downfall!” I’d scream. Any she would. I was The Word, the Alpha and the Omega. I was a tinpot Yahweh, Jehova and Alla all mushed together while still looking like a surprisingly clean-skinned yet unusually shy teen (late bloomer). My power was absolute.

Then along came university with its teachers and its lectures and its “Oh no, you can’t do that!”‘s. So, alright, I actually loved university and my failure to sign-up for the Creative Writing course is still amongst my biggest regrets*, but one of the unexpected downsides was my exposure to writing culture and the norms thereof. These were rules that only seemed to limit my quite considerable imagination. Before all this horrible “learning” business I was free to do whatever I wished in my universes. I wasn’t bound by rubbish physics or, god forbid, emotional rationality. I did what I wanted, dammit. I didn’t care if it made sense or not, Carl was going to strip to his waist, cut some wood and woo the bloody heroine. In space!

Eventually my mind became concerned not with my character’s hometowns or their favourite episode of Space Friends but instead with their narrative arcs and how they should evolve and their inter-relationship tensions and so on. No longer was I able to jot down a name, a job and a physical description and call the resultant horror a character. I had to consider motivation and the underlying Jungian principles of it all. It was tiring. It sapped my energy and worst of all destroyed, to an extent, my boundless imagination. Now everything had to contain reason. I stopped being a king in his castle and became an engineer toiling endlessly in the workshop, crafting cogs and wheels that although unseen were essential in crafting a believable and resonant whole.

I gave up. Every now and again I’d give it a go, “Space Odyssey Part I: Carl Goes To Woodcutting School,” but eventually progress would become bogged down by the withertos and whyfors and I’d get bored and potter off to microwave the shit out of some poor ready meal. I became saddened that this joyful refuge in audacity was no longer available to me. I still am.

But now, at what may very well be a not inconsiderable pivot-point in my awfully middle-class life, I am determined. I am prepared to be dedicated. I am sort-of-but-maybe-not willing to make the effort to power through the workshop and emerge once more into the castle, dropping my trousers and proffering my royal member to the assembled Court that is apathy.

*To be fair, people camped outside the English building for that shit. My younger self was far too busy playing World of Warcraft nailing hotties for that nonsense.


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