Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Here is what sparked me to write more:
Well Leesa talking of getting the juices flowing, I must confess you are certainly tickling my funny spot. But let me stay sober and boring today, yep sorry to disappoint but I am not always into cheap dirty humour
I confess, Father I have sinned:
I am one of those who tries to draw inside the lines, and I do not humour children who scribble all over their drawing books with crayons or felt tips. Scribbling is not art, not being disciplined does not make one artistic
We often humour too much drunks and useless bums for the sake of art, when really what they are is drunken pigs ... end of story, their art a blindfolded child could master.
On your second point
"we were first told to give an outline of what we were going to write and then expand the outline, eventually yielding a story. How creative is that? No very. How stifling is that? Very."
The only way to be cohesive.
One can ramble aimlessly thru the pages, but unless someone places them in some sort of order, they will not attract many readers ...
And of course it depends who one wants to be read by, I write for myself, but if you write for an audience, youy'll get the audience you deserve. You can't later complain about the audience, or you lose the audience you were writing for.
The same dilemma faces all our life
I think that a quasar9 is missing the point entirely, and reflects the attitude that dampens so much creativity in the world. I agree that the final product, whether it is music or writing, must follow a coherent structure that allows the audience to enjoy the work for what it is supposed to be. The problem is that we enforce structure and order too early in the process. Most people do not think it a three-point outline when they first have a thought for a story. Most authors do not know how Act I will work out until they have written Act III, or perhaps some may work based on a single idea for a character, or even a snippet of a conversation that they envision in their head. A painter may start with a fleeting vision of a color, a motion, an arrangement of flowers, and a dancer, while walking through the park with her boyfriend; they think "hey, I wonder what it would look like if I did this?"
Creativity is stifled when we force people to start at the beginning and work toward the end. I believe this especially applies to children learning how to color, learning how to sing, or learning how to paint or write.
My niece is a wonderful singer and she is developing quite a talent for all kinds of music. However, two years ago all she had was enthusiasm. She didn't have talent, rhythm, or the ability to carry a tune in a bucket. If her parents would have told her that she had to learn how to sing before she could sing, she would now sit silently at our family parties and we would all be worse off for it.
Most of us will never paint a picture that will hang on a wall, we will not write a book that is found on Amazon, nor will we sing in the local concert hall. We will however, write letters, doodle in church for our kids, tell stories at bedtime, and make-up fanciful tales for our boss about what we did during lunch and why our shirt ended up on inside-out. This creativity, this personal kind of creativity, flows best when we have learned that it is okay to draw outside the lines and be a little incoherent once in awhile.
For those of us who don't rely on our creativity for a paycheck, creativity should be an open ended source of fun, expression, and joy. I doubt that Jackson Pollock's mother ever told him to stay inside the lines, and I think he did quite well for himself.
I find in the entire idea of being "creative" to be a very stifling label. Not only are we told to color within the lines, outline our writings, and in fine form and structure in our thoughts, we are told that some people are creative, and that some people are not. Most frequently we are in the category of people that are not. The kids from drama club, art class, and others with outgoing personalities get the label early as being creative, and they are allowed to be odd or weird, fun, dramatic, and express themselves in ways that most of us would never get away with. Once we are labeled as “not creative" we are then stuck in an expectation that we toe the line, that we are good kids and that we don't do anything out of the ordinary.
Once so labeled I found my ability to create new things diminishing. I was allowed to be artistic, mostly through music, but to be truly creative, to create something that had never existed before, that was set outside my realm of responsibility. Now, as I fast approach middle age, I am trying to force myself to write creatively. By that I mean I am trying to write a story that has never been told before, with characters that never existed in a land that only exists in my mind. I feel that it is one of the biggest challenges in my life right now.
I have a notebook in which I scribble endless ideas, scenarios, and plot points. My biggest fear is that I will not be able to pull it all together in a coherent whole that makes sense to me. At the same time I question myself as to why it needs to make sense at all. Granted, a story needs to have a beginning, middle and an end but why does that end have to come last? Can I not tell my back story as introduction, give away the ending and then explain it? Why am I stuck with this mindset that there are rules and structure and an outline? Is the three-part thesis structure so ingrained in my head from high school that I can't even get away from it when making up my own story? It seems to be so, and I find it a struggle every time I sit down to write.
Another part of this challenge, is that I feel that when I finally finished this story, get it on paper, and submit it to anybody, a friend, a publisher, an editor, that some sort of barrier will have been broken and I will have changed sides and join “the creative kids." It seems to me that once that barrier has been broken I will have a new set of responsibilities to continue to be creative. I hope it does unleash the ability for me to write without hesitation, to be creative, to allow my imagination to soar, and to go places in my head that I have never allowed myself to go.
As I have been writing I have discovered that this fear of changing teams is real and quite intimidating. Can I really change people's expectations of me, and make them see me as a creative person, someone who was on the side of the oddballs and outcasts? Right now I play the role of a good corporate citizen, I wear nice shoes, pressed slacks, and a dress shirt that comes straight from the dry cleaner. I show up to work on time, I shave (almost) every day, and I even know how to balance a checkbook and I do my own taxes. I am epitome of the corporate citizen right now, and it drives me crazy. I lay awake at night as I work on my story and I dream of breaking out of this mold that I feel myself trapped in. Can I really break through to the other side and allow my creativity, my imagination, and the make-believe side of my personality take control?
While most of our labels came from high school and earlier, as we get older we label ourselves even more strictly than before. I am a father, a son, a husband, a manager, a boss, an employee, a Christian, a sinner, an athlete, but an artist?
Perhaps we all harbor a bias against the creative ones, out of jealousy and envy, but we see them as unstable, unreliable, and we buy into the culture that tells us that working 9-to-5 is a real job, while sitting at home in your pajamas writing the Great American novel, a wonderfully crafted essay, or an insightful blog is just so much wasted time.
I also believe that we have created a false dichotomy between the two positions. We somehow think that we can't both be creative and responsible, an artist and a company man, a visionary and a reliable father. Does such a divide really exist? Can we be both? Admittedly I wouldn't mind leaving the corporate culture behind for a while if I was actually able to write, publish, and get paid. But every time I walk by a magazine stand, or browse my local bookstore, I am overcome by the sense that there are so many people out there, just like me, who think they can write, but who am I to compete? Can I really get my book on a shelf that also contains the words of John Updike, Ray Bradbury, and countless other new, creative, and dynamic writers?
This is where my self image, my poor self image, kicks in with full force, but that discussion is for a different entry.
Right now, I am a corporate man. At lunch, I will pull out my notebook once again, and try to advance the story one more page, fill out one more character, and try to make the plot twist from Act 1 match with the partial resolution in Act II, which sets-up my big finish in Act III. I'm not sure if my English teacher would say, but I hope that she’d at least appreciate the effort.
Friday, October 13, 2006
All the cool kids were at the big table, laughing, joking, talking, comparing notes on what's on their TiVo and having a great time. I was stuck talking about insurance claims, class action lawsuits, marital counseling, and what was wrong with "kids these days!"
To top it off the really hot blonde, who likes my jokes and look amazing in cute little tennis shorts was at the big table and looked amazing in tight jeans, high black pumps, and a silky black blouse that was tailored to look a little bit Halloween.
I felt like I was an outsider all night because I couldn't hear any of the jokes, or the stories about the guest of honor, and even missed hearing his wife's b-day toast because I was being forced to listen to the thrilling ending of a wacky story of an expired insurance policy, a rear-end collision, and a handsome cop. OH PLEASE PUT A GUN TO MY HEAD.
I hate the grown-up table, I wanted to have fun.....
Monday, October 9, 2006
Her latest posting, http://lazygeisha.com/2006/10/09/maniaque-sexuel/ is a wonderful read, but she tosses cocaine use into the encounter and I found myself responding to that in a negative way, really with more sadness than anything else, because it recalls for me, friends and lovers lost to drug abuse.
I included my response below, but I wonder how others feel about being in an "altered state" during sex. I have never been a drinker, but I knew, right from the start that I never wanted to have sex with a drunk girl. I knew I never wanted to have her blame the beer, the wine, the whatever, for our our encounter.
What do others think?
My response to "The Lazy Geisha"
I absolutely love the imagery of your erotic writing the way you draw out things I would love to hear my wife say. Reading your work makes me sad because I will never know anyone as passionate as your writing. Maybe that is why they call it fantasy.
I only wish that you would have left the cocaine from your story. You romanticize a drug that has killed millions, and continues to kill every day. When we rely on other agents to find passion and lust, be they chemical or pharmaceutical, it diminishes our ability to open our senses to the reality of our erotic selves.
True passion, a deep climax, an excruciatingly delicious orgasm is best enjoyed in a state fully conscious of our surroundings, our choices, and our wholeness as a spiritual being, connected to our lover, our bodies, and our toys.
I have never wanted to be “altered” when on a sexual adventure. I want to know that every step I took, every risk I faced, every touch, kiss, stroke and caress was made of my own free will and conscious choice. I need to know that my partners feel the same. Every kiss, lick, slap and tickle is given with the full consent and desire of my partner. Every time I penetrate, I need to know that I am being invited in, that they want my cock, my tongue, my body to be inside theirs. I want to remember everything that happens to me, to my partners, to my body as we ravage and satisfy each other. I want to be present, aware, and participating of my own choice every moment.
If I am there, in that moment of climax, in the throes of orgasm, then I know that we have made our connection complete and that our experience has been a true shared expression of our mutual needs. I never want to hear that my lover was forced, or coerced, or hear them blame our lust on the wine, the pot, the cocaine, or even the full moon.
When we are done, I want her to say, I wanted him to fuck me, and he did, and it was great.
Your writing is divinely devilish, lustful and free, fun and enticing, please know you’re your writing stirs me deeply and I love to visit so see what’s next.