Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Strange Inspirations

Though perspiration is famously more vital to writing than inspiration, I'm convinced that it's inspiration that matters. That's why I hate the idea of "morning pages" - writing every day, to what purpose exactly? Yet, I guess, when you work full time at a demanding job, like I do occasionally (it's always full time, occasionally, and recently, demanding), perspiration be damned, you need some inspiration to sit down and free the muse. I'm reminded that, inspiration be damned, a nice red wine also helped free the muse (doesn't it sound like a Facebook group? 38 members.) But inspiration's what I've been lacking of late. I've had "ideas" but not "imperatives" which is not the same thing at all. I guess, the imperative for alot of writers is probably a cheque in the post or a competition, but without that, then you need to develop different ones - and I always used to be quite good at coming up with something; yet it's that which I've been lacking the last couple of years. And what, pray, is my imperative now? It's not that simple, of course. But it seems I need to have a sense of innovation to my writing to really compel me to start writing again. A few years ago I wrote a story, "I am no one" which was so non linear that it stopped me writing for a while - since how could I go back to "normal" stories after going out on the edge? The answer of course is finding some middle ground. Earlier in the year I read quite a bit, a few books like "The Damned United" and "The Book of Dave" being contemporary novels with the innovation I've been longing for - add in a bit of sci-fi and a sprinkle of Borges - and I've thrown off the straitjacket that I'd grown into, and starting writing something interesting again. Yes, that's the key. So for the first time in years, I've written 3 short stories in a matter of weeks, all very different, but all notably different, interesting, even experimental (though I use that word with a peg on my nose.) A bit of sci-fi here, and a bit of wine with a friend here, and a bad day at work over there, and voila, the chef is back in the kitchen. Or something.


Jim Murdoch said...

I find the concept of an "imperative" an interesting one, in simple terms, a reason to write. I had always considered writing an end in itself, certainly for me it always has been. In fact I have always found writing to order off-putting and when I attempt it, it's never my best work.

I do see your problem after working in a certain style and then trying to find your "old" voice. It's not something I've had a real problem with luckily but I have found myself stuck on a particular theme before and the only solution I found was to write it out; there's only so much to be said on any subject.

Never been able to write sci-fi though for love or money. I love reading it. I love watching it. But that's about it.

Appreciated the nice comment on my blog yesterday by the way.

Dave King said...

I'm reading The Book of Dave at the moment. Quite unique! When I started it, I didn't expect to finish it, but now I'm reading short passages at a time because I am dreading the void that will confront me when it's finished.
As for inspiration, perspiration and all that jazz. The missing ingredient might be courage. I find I have inspiration often enough, but not the courage to allow the imperative to take hold.
Dave King

Adrian said...

Dave - I think The Book of Dave is a minor masterpiece, read the cockney bits slowly, and revel in them!

Jim - writing is an end in itself but not any old writing - else why would we all try and get better at it? Thats probably my imperative - there's loads of stuff out there in the world, to add to it, you need some kind of reason - at least for a while. But,yes, writing to order doesn't really work - but its not to be dismissed if someone does order you to do it! Keep writing the blog, you've a lot worth saying.