there is no true choosing between a story being told and its being created

March 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

Though I’m not a particularly disciplined person, I’ve managed in recent weeks to maintain a a kind of writing schedule. Five hundred words a day, five days a week. As you might imagine, some days have come easier than others. That they are coming at all, though, is a wonder that I’ve not yet grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, at least in terms this blog, those five hundred words a day have all been locked under passworded key in a mysterious computer folder called “[Tentative Title of Novel],” and rarely in the form of anything to say here.

While I don’t want to make this space one of constant tease and promise of an unseen piece of writing, I also still value the exhibitionism of the medium. So, how about a few words on things I’ve learned along the way of writing what I think is a first chapter?

A story, or at least a a thematic thread upon which I can hang an episodic narrative, is ever so slowly emerging. That’s been the most delightful part of beginning with no plot in mind at all, only a setting. There have been moments of realization, though, of catching up with the story that have been tremendously encouraging in these early days. Now, I don’t think I believe that form is waiting, tapping her fingers against the dress, like an inconvenienced shadow, but she does have a way of making substance feel late to the party, doesn’t she, drinks & dinner served before the first guest is good-evening’d. This is unfortunate, though, because at the end of the day there is no true choosing between a story being told and its being created. This isn’t because there is some kind of pure improvisation — the only truth of such a thing in my view is that it is an idea empty of sense, a dulcet drone perhaps but one of a feverish delirium — but because the telling & creating of story are forever racing ahead and falling behind one another. The moment one has been left too far in the dust or away from the rhythm of the other is probably the moment things have gotten either very dull or ugly creatively.

So it seems anyway to me as I creep deeper into this. . . what is this? what metaphor is most fitting? This game . . . this dance . . . this roll in the hay? Probably all of them. Maybe none.

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§ 2 Responses to there is no true choosing between a story being told and its being created

  • Nin Andrews says:

    This is beautiful! I love it, esp. ” I don’t think I believe that form is waiting, tapping her fingers against the dress, like an inconvenienced shadow, but she does have a way of making substance feel late to the party, doesn’t she, . . . ”

    Wow!

    • Brad Johnson says:

      Thanks, Nin! Looking at “tapping her fingers against the dress” again, there seems a typo, but I’m not sure now I’d change it. Mistakes can sometimes work better.

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