Monday, March 26, 2012

More or Less

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ray Bradbury talks about writing a thousand words a day for three years, no matter if you write a masterpiece or a piece of garbage that makes it to the trash without it ever passing the eyes of another human being. After this period, you may finally be a decent writer. The words have been on my mind since I read them and it’s something I want to do. I may as well start today. That was not verbatim.

I don’t have any particular goal for what I’m going to write. It may be prose or poetry. I may spill out scenes from the various fictions floating around inside my head. As my reader, you may have to suffer through the times I write experimental garbage, wax philosophical or, even worse, wax political. You may choose to run screaming and slam the door behind you. That’s okay. It’s right over there.

If you decide to stick around, I’m hoping you’ll help hold me to this bold declaration. Put your finger in my face and while wagging it say, “Morgan, I don’t care if you don’t sleep til 2am, write my thousand words, damn it. After all, if Scheherazade could tell stories for 1001 evenings just to save her pretty neck, (and those of all the young women in her city, woman deserves some credit), then I certainly can make an effort. Especially if I want to achieve one of those top three goals of mine: immortality.

While I admit that I enjoy being a show off to a certain extent, it always surprises me when, in spite of my tenacity in declaring I want to be immortal, no one ever asks me why or how. (The show off thing is another conversation altogether. Yes, I do, but as one person once put it, I just like to play.) I really do want to be immortal. Since it’s unlikely that Lestat is ever going to stop by for a visit, (if one of the Cullen family shows, they can go fuck themselves. I refuse to glitter for eternity), I’ve decided that barring some unlikely medical miracle that reverses aging and allows mankind to expand its life indefinitely, there’s only two ways of going about this. Both are classically Shakespearean, in fact. Immortality is a constant theme in his sonnets and that’s the kind of immortality I’m aiming for. 

Shakespeare is my inspiration for many reasons. First, he achieved my goal, whether he was planning on doing so or not. Second, he managed to immortalize those he loved as well. Third, whether his friend ever acted on his advice or not, Shakespeare told him repetitively to get it on and have a family. Which is another of my goals. I’m a little further down the writing road than I am the family road, but I plan to knock them both out while my feet are still glued firmly to the surface of this hunk of rock of ours. As they say, where there’s a Will, there’s a way. In the meantime, I’ll keep my day job.

(Pun courtesy of the Bard.)

It is not the lack of ideas or inspiration that has kept me from heading up this Sisyphean hill to this point. The rock is heavy and I’m all too fond of letting myself sleep the days away. A constant battle of wills with my lack of motivation has previously wedged itself tight on the uphill side of the slope. In the past, I spent most of my time trying to shove the rock over the wedge. I think, perhaps, I might try just removing it this time around and get this rock n rolling. No need to tip a hat to Shakespeare for that one. 

On to more random topics, just to fill space and use up words. It turns out that I’m more comfortable around the 500 word mark, after which I find myself staring at the screen and mopping up puddles of drool from my desk. That’s okay though. As the Zen Buddhist’s say, I have to keep a Beginner’s Mind. I’ve just started on this journey and the only way I’m going to open enough pathways in my mind to make 1,000 words spill out like water from a broken dam is to start digging. Creativity, much as anything else, is a muscle and it is no easier to use than any other muscle is when you first make an effort.

I recognize that I’m not exactly starting from scratch. I do have a degree in creative writing and hundreds of poems and a series of song lyrics that I haven’t bothered to count. In spite of this, I most certainly consider myself a beginner. I may not suck, but my masterpiece is buried deep down there somewhere and I’ve not even started to uncover it. This is going to be an almost archaeological process. One inch down at a time over a significant area. I’m in no hurry. I know it’s there somewhere and I’m young yet. I may not be Christopher Paolini, but I’m also not letting anyone other than Neil Gaiman write the screenplay based on my novel. (Shh. . . let me dream.) As the song goes, “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes it is.” I could, of course, die tomorrow, but hey, shit happens.

So here I go. I’m off, the starting gun has fired. I’m on a journey to find my voice, improve my writing, become a writer, write a novel, write, write, write, write. Alf laylah wa laylah, (a thousand and one nights). A thousand tiny stories each with their own meaning a day. A trial, a tribulation and a chance to sink my hands deep into the stuff of my self and draw it out, dripping from my fingers in large gooey chunks. A thousand words a day to cut and polish the facets of this diamond in the rough. I may be hidden in thick casing of kimberlite today, but damnit, there’s a fuckton of gems in there somewhere. If you’re nice to me, I may let you have one.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


1 comment:

  1. Morgan, You are definitely a writer. Interesting fact, which you probably already know; Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of 54,000 words. Today most of us have a working vocabulary of only 3,000 words. I'm sure that your vocabulary is larger than the average persons, and you wax eloquently with it. Except for when you don't. ;>) Go for it.