Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Ramblings of a Madman

Nothing motivates me to put down words today. I'm like a dried up water source. Of course, nothing ever motivates you to put down words, does it? Well, no, that isn't quite true, is it? Emotions do. They can cause you to want to speak out. At least, that's my experience. When I feel strong emotions I am more motivated to speak out. Of course, I guess just as easily they can cause you to want to bury your head in a pillow and wallow in your grief.

So where are my deep emotions today? Everything seems flat and not very important. Perhaps it's because I have some kind of bug bugging me. It's one that visits every so often, the one that causes me trouble speaking and gives me that persistent cough. I had the runs --- not that anyone wants to know --- earlier today, and I've had this borderline indigestion or acid reflux. Writers can't afford to let little things like those prevent them from putting down important thoughts or even unimportant ones. You have to be persistent in writing whether you feel like it or not, whether some burning emotion drives you to do it or is totally lacking. It may have an effect upon what you put down, but that shouldn't prevent you from doing it.

I've been contemplating whether or not I should attempt to write a novel in November and tracking my success at doing so on the Internet at the site that sponsors doing that. Last night a fellow critique or indicated she might give it a whirl this year. Last year, the president of the local chapter of the Society for Children's Writers and Illustrators participated and I believe completed the novel during November. Of course, she had a contract to fulfill and I gave her an incentive and motivation I wouldn't have. On the other hand, since she is published and I am not, that mere thought alone ought to give me incentive and motivation to proceed. All you have to do to succeed is to write about 1700 words a day, and I don't suppose that is too big a feat. Not considering in the few minutes I've rambled on here I've written over 375 words. And mostly it's about nothing. Lacking all imagination. Devoid of all emotion. Boring. I can do that. I'm good at boring.

I'd have to start a whole new novel. I've had some ideas but randomly exploring them in my mind they don't seem that viable. The analog I was using is basically the tragedy and I would rather make it not so much a tragedy. Although, some of the nicest pieces I've read have been tragedies.

They say write what you know about. That has to be a mistake or an overgeneralization. Otherwise, it's almost as if I couldn't write about anything, because I'm not sure of anything most of the time. I just don't know anything. The reason for that is because life is in flux. It is changing, constantly, and everything to do with it is changing, too. How can you be sure about anything that is so dynamic like that? How can you be certain you know anything about anything? Now, thinking about that analysis, it is not very comforting or very satisfying. I would rather have the confidence to say I know this or that about this or that. Nonetheless, I don't. It would be dishonest to say I did.

I remember when my son was young --- that would be my older son --- and he was at church, or, rather, he had just come from church, and he would say something like, "They talked about the pioneers and their ancestors. I don't know anything about my ancestors." He said what he said because he is an adopted boy. At the time, he didn't know anything at all about his biological parents or ancestry. Of course, we reassured him that he was certainly part of our family and his grandparents and ancestors included ours. Nonetheless he knew and so did we that wasn't quite on the mark.

There is a table, a long table, in fact. It is so long, there must be several tables pushed together in a row. A group of people sit there along the benches next to the table eating. It looks like some kind of a celebration, a big picnic to commemorate this or that. The table is cluttered with plates made of paper and the people are holding plastic forks, cutting through cake, and reaching for this or that with another hand. These people at this table do not look like me. I am an old white man. These people are dark, Native Americans perhaps, maybe Latinos, I don't know. They are happy and the food is satisfying them. The group includes men and women. The men have more smiles on their faces then the women do. The women seem serious, focused, and intent. Maybe they're just more hungry. I don't see any children.

The stainless steel lids of the pans on the table draw my vision to them. They are distinctive. Perhaps it's the way they reflect the light.

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