Please Read This.
Then go write something.
Do you know that feeling, when you’re surfing, and you’re in this blue and white water tube, your right hand, just your fingertips, are lightly brushing the wave, and your feet are feeling the slick board under you, even your toes are gripping it, and you can hear your heartbeat, your breath as loud as thunder in your head, in your throat, it’s all a roar …
No? Yeah, me neither. Not only have I never surfed, never been inside one of those water wave tubes, I’ve never actually been on top of a surf board, never touched it in my life. What I was asking you to do was to ride along with me, to use your imagination as I was using mine, to see it as I was seeing it in the movies I’ve seen tons of times. Go ahead, close your eyes, picture it…
The power of the writer is awesome yet limited. I can do great many things, I can create worlds, creatures, adventures, or people. I can make you feel a great deal of feels, fall in love or lust, hate, crave revenge and then feel the satisfaction when it is doled out. But I cannot break the laws of physics, I can make you suspend disbelief, but not throw it out the window, like the baby with the bathwater. And if I lose your trust, I doubt I could earn it again — there are just too many other books, too many excellent writers. I can NEVER lie to you. However, I can mislead you, I can create unreliable narrators — as long as I am honest with you from the start. That’s the difference between an artist and a con artist.
I have never suffered from writer’s block for lack of ideas. If anything, I get too many ideas and then a sort of a bottleneck effect happens, when all sorts of ideas become lodged in my mind and I have trouble disgorging them. I call it my Christmas lights effect. For me, it’s like taking your last year’s Christmas lights out of the box and finding them all knotted up together, in one giant ball of lights. Then you have to untangle the entire thing, it takes forever, there is much cursing and, in the end, the whole thing might not work, but there are many little light bulbs on that wire. Sure, I have many ideas, but most of them don’t amount to great or even good plot or sub-plot lines, a great majority of them are hopelessly clichéd, and the few that I deem all right don’t necessarily lead anywhere.
Such is the life of the writer. One day your hero is surfing the beautiful waves off Australia’s coast, the next he’s stupidly staring at some cheerleader’s heaving bosoms. You gotta take the profane with the sacred, the washing of the dishes with the climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Allow me to use a baseball metaphor to death: in writing blogs, I can’t hit the ball out of the park every time, from time to time there are going to be a few pop flies, or worse, foul balls mixed in. Think of me as a pitcher, a catcher, and a cheerleader (again with the cheerleading?), all wrapped in one short, chubby yet cute package. While most pitchers are notoriously bad hitters, there are a few good pitchers among them. They will work on their weaknesses, hitting, sure, but they will really, REALLY work hard on their strengths — pitching. They will also catch, (read other people’s blogs) because it’s part of the game they love, and lead cheering sessions (let’s face it, there are no formal cheerleaders in baseball) for their fellow players.
I will now stop torturing the baseball metaphor (and cheerleaders), and tell those who are reading this the real reason I cheer other writers on. Much like arsonists who just want to watch the world burn, in my heart I am possessed of a singular obsession: I want the whole world to write. Let me say this again, louder: I want to whole world, everyone in it, to WRITE! I believe that this one deed, this writing skill that can be learned and developed and improved, can save each and every one of us. It can save our souls, our lives. It can purify our hearts, lead us out of our misery, allow us to dump our sins and depressions, our anxieties and our miseries, our petty complaints, and legitimate pains and our devils onto a blank page, or onto a screen, and allow us to start over, with a fresh slate, with clarity and renewal of purpose and spirit.
I think of writing, specifically blog writing, as our (my) confessional. It takes guts to open up, even though you’re doing so fairly anonymously, on the net, it takes courage to share your writing which is your baby, your vulnerabilities. Yet we do it, some of us on a daily basis. (Not me, I only do on a two-days-per-week basis because, no thank you, I know myself.) And for those reasons I believe it is my duty to cheer on, to spur on, to praise, to lift, to applaud, and to be kind, as others were to me.
And we are in return given a gift. We are allowed to share another person’s life. We get to see what they see, feel what they feel. At times, it’s next door, other times, it’s in another county, or another country, as different from ours as it possibly can be. We are enriched by this experience, we are enlarged by it. And a mind expanded, never goes back to its original shape. (I’m getting, like, three different origins of that last quote, so do your own Google search and draw your own conclusion for it.)
Go ahead. Close your eyes. See yourself in a wave of translucent and blue water, on a large, slick board (I fancy a white and red one), one hand’s fingertips lightly skimming the water to your right. You feel it yet?