Description of my creative process - sometimes
|Each time....with the need to write, I can’t start by sitting. Ideas want to take me places. They have legs, and so must I. Pacing and prowling….my hallway, the park, or a dimmed bar smelling of sawdust, Chanel, and sweat.
A bag of angry weasels are in my brain. They cry, scratch, bite and hiss.
“Let us out, please.”
“Forget them, let me out!”
“I want to run”
“To fight, explore, expose. To reclaim”
A mad cacophony of disembodied pleadings complete with lives, loves, and goals. Each, in short, with a story to tell.
I sit down, hands poised over the keys.
Around me, I feel the press of their outlines pushing against my reality with the desire to just be. I am god to them. But I have no desire to bless, to test, or to control. I only want to set them free and let them go where they wish. Perhaps that makes me more gate than god.
Here I sit, wielding the power to release them, while bearing no responsibility for their actions. If they bring wind or rain, emulation or emancipation, or they begin ministering or pillaging; all is one to me...I just let them out.
Power without consequence is dangerous, but so are they. Characters can be dangerous, and stories can trap you.
But I can’t hold them back any longer.....fighting against editing, against constraint, against even further definition. Like me, they don’t have to be understood in order to exist.
Understanding is for agents, approval ratings, and accolades. Precision of language is for the editors who write the synopsis of book jackets, or professors publishing for tenure.
Let my stories be loud and messy. Just let them be. Let me throw the gates open and not care what happens. Let music play while satyr’s cavort, piping perfectly irreverent impromptu, as I dance with them…hedonistic, angry, and free.
I begin typing, and the dam bursts….
Potential becomes kinetic - a story’s natural state. The figures pressing around me break free, pouring through me to dampen our world with the constant mists of their crashing spray. Here I sit, feeling like Annie Taylor at Niagara (or maybe Frodo Baggins, famous barrel-rider), caught in the flow, hoping I won’t be crushed.
It was wonderful. At first.
Ideas rolled out of me, and I felt lighter. I saw them as they passed from and then away from me. There were monsters, but also beauty. There was truth crashing along like mythical horses, pulling a cart filled with boxes of hate, and bigotry, and fear. I wondered at this, then realized it was right; what raving lunatic doesn’t believe themselves to be enacting a Truth? That realization startled me the worst, and the outpouring chilled me.
Behind this came tenderness. Characters dropped into being showing empathy, pathos, Eros, and catharsis. The weasels fell out of my brain, onto a world they covered with blood, flowers, drugs, money and dreams. They plotted and planned, undertaking adventure -- winning goals or suffering defeats. There was laughter that bubbled up into satire, razor wit, and bawdy farce. On and on it flowed -- characters and ideas born and dying. Flowing on, too much and too fast.
“Stop!”, I tried to yell.
“Stop, or at least slow down. The world needs you, you were born for this. All of you were let out for this purpose -- to be seen, to exist. To be known……”
Ideas and characters, big or small, hero or villain; they did not hear or did not care.
I was more gate than god, and once the doors were open I was not responsible. There was no consideration of control. A force is a force.
A tsunami is powerful, but you can’t examine a drop of water surrounded by a flood.
Over the edge, my barrel crashing, I plunged into a pool, and emerge to the safety of a shore. All gone, floating away under their own power, living their own stories.
I imagine they might pass you at some point. You might see a dragon with a baseball bat, a villainous hamster who only wishes to ice-dance, or a princess who’s saved herself but unsure of where she’s left her sword. They were all here, I think - pressing against me and hissing like weasels in my brain to be let out...to exist.
Overhead, there is a rainbow. Drops of water, caught in the air long enough to refract light and project a story of their own. I consider understanding, and how it is communicated. Whether for agents, approval ratings, accolades, or audiences…..how do we explain the flood that is contained in each drop of water?
From inside the rushing torrent there is no perspective, so how can there be a simile? What is the metaphor for everything?
I can not explain being caught in a tsunami. But maybe I can trap drops in the air.
Maybe a story is more than a flood.
Maybe it is a distillation a substance, rather than the substance itself.
Maybe I can refract, and project new colors.
Maybe a story is a rainbow.