Friday, January 21, 2011

The Writing Mayfly

I started writing blog as a place to dump the thoughts which didn't belong in my books.  I express myself best through writing, especially when I am inspired and stormed in the house with a million thoughts and scenarios ricocheting around the green vortex of my imagination.  I was shocked today to see that I have been found by so many people.  I am socially awkward enough that I never know how to respond to people who compliment me, so all I can think to say is -- Thank you for taking a little time to explore a little piece of my reality.

I don't get to write on here as often as I would like, but most of my writing requires a degree of inspiration and epiphany that doesn't come out of a standard, boring day.  I'd rather write something meaningful on occasion than something mundane every day.  My inspiration also gets eaten up by art projects, crocheting, playing with my toddler, and the small collection of books I've written in the past eight years.

I am firmly planted in the real world, but I also have an imaginary world.  I can usually only get lost in my imaginary world after 10pm.  I have to wait until my family is asleep.  Only then can I fully get into character and jump into a fantasy world full of strange characters and even stranger situations.  I am not delusional, dreaming, or a role-player.  I'm just a writer. 

I'm getting close to the end of my nightmare chronicle Mayfly Requiem and I've found myself being able to write before 10pm for the first time since my son was born.  Between late nights, nap times, and distracted play times, I've written 50 pages in the last four days.  My son usually doesn't nap, but he's making an exception this week to fight off the nasty colds we've all come down with.  I just haven't been sleeping much.  The insomnia rotation of my narcolepsy has been in full swing for several weeks.

I write because it wouldn't make sense not to.  I have so many thoughts and ideas in my head.  If I try to keep them in, they eventually migrate to the surface and express themselves in different forms than what I intended and something gets horribly lost along the way.  I'll have painting in mind, but end up doing metal work.  It can still be beautiful, but I can't help looking at it and knowing that it is not at all what I had in mind.  I've been working on Mayfly for two years now, which is frustrating me because the first two drafts of my previous book (coming in at 1200 pages) only took six months.  However, I have to be happy I'm getting it finished at all.  I've been interrupted by marriage, home ownership, a baby, and accepting and 19 months later quitting a job that kept me in a lab six or seven days a week.  They've all been worth it, but Mayfly has been eating away at me the entire time.  I wrote the first draft by hand in four months, but the deciphering of my scrawl into a workable transcription is still ongoing.  It is nice that I can see the end.  I am halfway through the second of two notebooks, so I still have a quarter of the book to write, but being able to flip back and actually see where the end is in relation to where I am is a relief.

Honestly, I don't know if my books are any good.  I haven't tried publishing them yet because I am still tweaking them a little bit.  I'm an obsessive editor and the evolution of my world requires a progressive attention to detail.  The books are are interconnected but take place in different worlds with different characters, though there are a few linking characters.  It doesn't matter if anyone else finds them to be either good or a waste of time.  I'm only writing them for myself.  If anyone else reads them and likes them it is a bonus, but  I'm not writing for that sort of gratification.  I write because I like to, because I have ideas and characters in my head that I want to put down on paper to keep them from rattling around in my brain any longer, because it is a nearly free hobby, and because it gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I reach the end of a manuscript and realize I am in a place not many people have been.  I've heard a lot of people say how much they would like to write a book, but I actually have.  I finished what I started twice already, and what I started was on such a massive scale that when I look back I can't believe I pushed myself through it.  They are a labor of love and often loathing, but that is no different from most of life's accomplishments.

Writing gives me the freedom to explore perspectives and personalities, magic and fantastic locations.  I am inspired by my travels, my experiences, and the people I've met, but I can also be inspired by something as simple as a flower or a rainstorm.  I have to write down things as I think of them or those exact thoughts will be lost forever.  I guess I'm a bit obsessive about it, but it is impossible to finish any large project without a lot of obsession and ambition.  Talent doesn't matter so much, as long as you're obsession doesn't extend to a desire of fame and renown.  If you write for yourself but leave your ideas open for others to explore, sometimes interesting things start happen.

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