Rhymer’s Blog on Life
Learning how to write is obliterating everything I ever knew. Of course I still love the craft; I adore what rush comes from working to create something decent. It doesn’t change that I now see aspects of life, mostly entertainment, with new eyes. Until the previous couple of months, I watched tv and movies like most people, sitting back and becoming one inside the story. Music was still had a musicality, and a good story was appreciated as just a good story. There was so much magic happening around me, and I loved it.
I think anyone that says writing comes easy isn’t trying hard enough. By showing the smallest spark of interest, the Universe (God, Mother Goddess, whatever your perception, I’m speaking of the same idea here) is sure to blast open status quo by offering lessons and tips everywhere, and one enlightenment leads to the next. It’s nothing to speak of plot as a thing, as if it was one aspect of writing a story. But as you delve deeper into the craft, it becomes clear plot is one idea comprised of so many moving parts including theme, characterization, story progression, etc. It becomes clear there is no “quick and easy way to plot”. I’m pretty sure a large part of becoming a writer is accepting there is no shortcut. Writers who can do things quickly can usually substantiate their notations by years of experience, something I don’t have. For me, there is no “easier way”. As the Universe has explained it to me, easier is just lazier, and if that’s the road I’m gonna take, then why waste my time at all? I could be playing Minecraft. But I like the feeling when I accomplish something I haven’t done before, such as using a literary device I’ve only read about or to produce something beyond my expectations.
Writing and reading are best friends, and when one is affected, so is the other. When one learns to write better, one learns to read better, also. Those tricks and sleights-of-hand we try for, those twists and points in the story written just for the author to know where she is or where he’s going…they become more evident, almost rising up from the page. The more we learn what we’re doing, the better the understanding of what others have done. In The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, the author changes his writing style between paragraphs based on the feeling he wants to pull from his reader. In the beginning of the second chapter, the writing is short and fragmentary: scary to build tension. And then as the scene progresses for two more paragraphs, Blatty begins to write differently. As he leans into the suspense, his sentences become longer, eventually turning into run-ons to fuel the fear of the inevitable. I’m thankful to see that now, to understand how something may be used with other parts to create something real from fiction…but it does remove some of the magic I saw from before.
I love binge-watching most series, but now, I’m looking for technical aspects. Ten minutes into the first episode, we should know who the main character is with a hint of what he or she is after. Between ten and twenty minutes, we generally see the beginning of plot, we get just enough of their previous situation to understand why they may be where they are. And as I watch, my mind is taking in the characterization, judging whether or not the actor is equal to the character, understanding where someone was coming from when they wrote this…where is it going? What’s the overall point, and where are we hoping to land when this is over? How are they using misdirection and still placing the information we need? I can’t just sit down and enjoy a visual story anymore. I can see the wires and the hands in the puppets.
I think I’m the most let down by music. On my chest, just over my heart, I have a tattoo of a music note. I’ve realized I don’t like the music on the radio today, not because I’m old, but because I need more than what most artists are giving, and my main disappointment lands on the lyrics. People no longer sing stories; they sing a small situation. Without a story, with no point, there’s no conviction. I don’t listen to the songs I like because I’m from Oklahoma and we listen to country music. I listen to 90’s country because they tell a story, an opening and an ending (think “Walkaway Joe” by Yearwood and “Fancy” by McEntire). The radio hurts my sensitivities these days.
But the one part of my life I never expected to be obliterated into a smoky and hot mess was my life. Those around me who deal with me on a daily basis don’t see it. It’s not like a blatant spiritual awakening, although it’s not far from that, either, to be honest. I’m trying to understand people a little more because I don’t know their backstory. I don’t know where they are in their plot, and I can’t be sure right away the characterizations are apt, so I’d rather not judge the middle of someone’s story. But take it even more abstract…writing has been a thing in which I can sometimes make out my reflection, philosophies that need to evolve, ugliness I need to trim, and maybe a hint of something good to hold onto while I sleep.