I attended a writing workshop after a long, long time yesterday. I haven’t spoken favourably about them in the past, but that has more to do with the way I am than the way writing classes are generally conducted. I was relieved that I wasn’t asked the question, “Why do you want to write?” But, that was probably because of lack of time. Instead, we focused on writing itself. Not a how-to-write, but a more direct – write.
I panicked. I haven’t written much this year. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m getting older and I equate that with being more mature and how-I-hate-that-compound-word grown-up, which translates into the writing world as “write a book, you idiot.” That is it. I haven’t written much at all in 2018 because I’ve only wanted to write a book.
But, you cannot write a book in two minutes, which is what we were told to do in the first exercise. We were given a prompt – “Eye Contact” – and told to write as many words as possible that we associated with it, and then to write as many lines as possible that connected at least a few of those words.
Here are my words:
Tension blue-green hold release catch swerve palpitation spark intense grey bewitch connect eyelashes lift
And here are my sentences:
The hold of her blue-green diminished in power as her attention swerved to the lightning spark tattooed on my left wrist. ‘And this is?’ she spoke, lifting her lashes to illuminate the brilliance of her eyes even more. I was getting good at this game of tension and release. Catch, I whispered in my mind, as I told her, ‘To commemorate my time stuck in the …’
Now, future Amrita wants to change at least 40% of the above. But, past Amrita, who had to come up with most of this in the additional 30 seconds which was given to her because she had only written ‘The hold of her blue-green’ before, was exhilarated to have come up with anything at all. To be coming up with things in the first place.
We also wrote a short story as a group which was just as thrilling. It was nice to bounce ideas, focus on whether words, phrases and the minutest details worked for what we were all trying to do. Obviously, it needed further work, but just to writing so publicly, so openly, which I really haven’t done in a long time, not for something related to storytelling, was a feeling I could see myself getting addicted to. And as with all potential addictions, it makes me panic.
Predominantly, I’ve been a non-fiction writer. I also write short stories, plays, bits and pieces of novels but never completed ones. Now, a novel can be anything, a book can be more of an anything and if I put all these bits and pieces together, something of a thing might possibly emerge.
But, then my mind swerves, as we did with my character up there, and I feel I should be grown-up about this and write something that might actually get picked up by a publisher. You might say that’s stupid, just write what you want to write and stop caring, but I haven’t been able to avoid these thoughts. Maturity, I believe, has nothing to do with age and everything to do with responsibility. As long as you do everything in your capacity to make life for yourself and everyone around you easier, you’re being mature. And you can do all that when you’re eight years old.
It was such a pleasure and a relief to be free from these thoughts in the duration of the workshop. To just create – i.e. put stuff together to reach somewhere you have little idea of as yet. It wasn’t about polishing anything, or working towards a definite purpose. I didn’t have to be self-conscious, as I became after it was over and we started getting to know each other. I know all this sound terribly romantic and they have not enlightened me in any guaranteed way towards getting to that goal of being a full-time book writer person who doesn’t have to commute to work everyday and can occupy herself with living in her head for greater periods of time. I’m not against work, of course, but I just wish life allowed more of this and less of…I really haven’t got words to adequately describe the other without being overemotional about it.
Maybe writing about it once (and when.and if.) I have some distance from my current life will help.
What do you like to create? Any tips on creating?