Poetry, novels and why writing is the best drug.


Recently, as in the last four and a half months I quit drinking. Not something a writer supposedly does if you believe all the myths about writers. While I started writing in my teenage years, it is only recently (last two years) that I have begun work on a novel. My first attempt never came to fruition. I stopped while about half way through. Something that from what I understand happens to beginning writers when they have not been trained in a classroom. In the last year, I have written two drafts for a vampire story that is set in Las Vegas. I am currently mid-way through the second draft.

Though I am half way through I feel there are times when I am not writing, I am almost possessed by some unseen force. Something writer John Gardner called “the fictive dream”. I will see hours go by like minutes, and when I eventually read the words, it is though a ghost wrote them. The words and the prose do not resemble anything that I thought I was capable of. I have written some poetry (though I am not sure if it is correct) and stories that I have placed on Goodreads.com. And have started numerous novels in the past few years. I gave up on the vampire story at the beginning of the December for a month. While I was away from the story I started something else to take my mind off the vampire story. It is a fantasy/science fiction story, I stopped writing it, though I plan on going back to it eventually. I have a few other stories in my head, though I have blocked them out to concentrate on the current WiP. One of them is very personal and very different from anything I have ever written (that is what my wife tells me).

When I write I have a order of things, I help my wife get our kids to sleep, and read to my 6 year old, and I play a video game to help me unwind from my day job. I set a 45-minute time limit on the game so it does not interfere with my writing time. After I finish with the game (this week it happens to be Alan Wake for the XBOX 360) I get out my laptop from the bag I take to work (I also write on my lunch hour every day) and turn it on waiting for the loading screen and immediately go to the last chapter I was writing. The only problem with writing at work is that it is only that one hour. If I find myself in the fictive dream I may get back to work late (yes it has happened) or I do not get to eat all of my lunch. Such is the life of mine.

This state of the “fictive dream” has become very addicting, almost the way alcohol felt. I may have quit drinking, that does not mean I don’t want a drink. My day job as a bartender/barback does not help with this. Right now, it is what I know, and in Las Vegas, there are not many jobs to pick from. I have found myself in the dream state when I stay up late at night writing. Sometimes, a lot more lately it feels euphoric, almost like a high. I can feel myself entering that state and try to hold on to it as long as I can. It is only in this state that I feel free. There are not restrictions to what I can write or where my mind will take me. I feel that the stories chose me, if not then what is the purpose for me to write them.

I love every bit of this ride of writing. If I am never published, I will always have the drug of it. Every time I pick up a pen or pencil, or when I punch the keys I feel that energy rising up through my soul and on to the keyboard. I have read books on writing, taken classes on it, the one thing I learned from them – write, no matter what it is keep writing, even if you don’t feel it that day, find your favorite book and write the first few paragraphs. See that book through the eyes of the author. Understand what they went through to write it. Notice their grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, rhythm. Notice all these things and remember them when you sit down to write.

Until dusk,

BB_Baker

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