“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
This blog has usually been about one specific film or TV show at a time, one great thing that caught my attention for the precious few minutes between being awake and being fast asleep having anxiety dreams about zombies, losing a wallet and flying to the Fantastic Planet, usually all happening in the SAME dream and starring actors who’d be charging double rates if they knew where they ended up. But, what to start talking about? Oh, it starts with good intentions – a Lost here (season finalé sucked, let’s try and move on) a Halloween (birthday!) marathon there – but I get so caught up by what I SHOULD be writing about that my thought process rebels, and then – nothing gets written. Zip. Nada. Bugger all. And this TRULY sucks. Most writers will probably agree that not writing or being creative for too long leads to the dreaded ‘blockage’, and it’s every bit as ugly and corrosive as something that requires a shedload of Cillit Bang (or dain-unblocker of your choice) and leads to a misery of the inner skull that is just a big whiny heap of nothing. Expunge! Empty! Spew out some prose!!
Yes, well, easy. Easy peasy. It’s in there, int he head, rattling around. But there’s also Real Life, the potential sucker of the soul. And we LET it do that. We let it trickle into our precious hours, sealing up the arteries of thought so that they shrink, wither, shrivel up and drop like neglected fruit. The only wine you get from this sort of thinking is sour and smells a bit like damp tights that a cat’s thrown up on. A DRUNK cat with the runs.
So, to wander slightly away from the ‘choice’ part of this post, this is one of the reasons writers get depressed. We blame Real Life but in act, it’s because we have a fantasy of getting every bit of Real Life sewn up nad in the bag because that’ when we can lean back in our computer chair/Starbucks stool, crack our knuckles (always fascinated and repelled by those who can do that) and just Get. Some. Effing. Writing. Done.
But that’s bollocks, and you know why?
Writers need Real Life. We need it to mess with us, to toss us around and soak our brains in its juices. Otherwise the writing is like the first draft of a reality TV star’s memoir – and like the memoir, the majority of it should be pulped as soon as possible. Real Life provides salt and stock and….onions. Yes, onions. Even though it makes you cry, without it you don’t have a decent base for a soup – you’ve got bits floating in water. So we’re back to the vomit metaphor again.
So, I state that we need Real Life, and it fucks with us massively, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make great soup out of it. We also need to be able to choose what to take from life to MAKE this soup. There are terrible soups out there – and what would you rather have? A delicious, soul-warming broth created over time, with love, attention and or some warmed-up dishwater made in two minutes, which quickly loses its flavour and in the worst possible case, poisons everyone you love?
NOT choosing to write is far more painful than just sitting down and doing it. My head is bloated, cramped, spurting out ideas, characters and worlds, at the worst possible moment. Letting your brain open up and make great stories from the funked-up mixture in your brain – ripped from RL, or how you’d prefer that life to be, is pretty much the only way to stay sane. It’s about making decisions. Getting there in the end. Conquering the fear of letting go, because otherwise, you get a lot of backed-up sludge before you can use those pipes again.
So, I CHOOSE to write. I choose NOW, here, to make sure I write. And not just a blog. Not JUST a few words noting my thoughts about the latest piece of pop culture, although that’s a good way to write without fear, to let rip with opinion. I choose to make myself do it all, starting now. I CHOOSE to write a book, do an interview, to have something to show for all the good and bad of Real Life as it is so rich, interesting, inescapable and quite often upsetting and jaw-wrenchingly tedious. We might not get out of it alive, but as a writer I want to leave a small, nicely bound manuscript to mark that I was even here. Or, you know, a few hundred MB of text that someone, someday, might want to read again.
There’s a long list of things to write about. I’ll get going.
“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes
(And the quote website is a piece of internet genius. Thank you!)