Insanity of writing, memory of marriage, and the elixir of story

What I’m about to say could possibly seem odd to you if you aren’t a writer. If you are a writer, you’ll nod and smile. Writer’s who write for money and writers who must write are two different things I’ve come to realize over the years. If you are able to stop writing, that is, if you won a lottery, and didn’t have to write for your job, and you wouldn’t miss it so much, then you belong in the first camp. If you are deprived of being able to write and find yourself going slightly mad, then it is quite likely you are in the second camp. As a metaphor–after all, we’re talking about writing–the second camp of writers will feel, after a short time without their writing, as someone who is forcibly kept underwater and not allowed to surface for oxygen. Panic begins to take hold and the urge is so intense that you feel you may die without that air in your lungs. You will go to extreme lengths to take air. You will swim to the surface, no matter what is stopping you, in order to survive.

I am most definitely in the second camp. When I spend too much time being non-creative, thinking in a linear, functional fashion, I get that edgy, unsettled feeling that begins in the bottom of my lungs and builds and builds and builds until I am that swimmer desperate for air and wildly swimming up to it as though her life depended on it.

Because it does. My mental well-being at any rate.

I sometimes wish I didn’t have this problem. Because then I would not have to ever take any time off from being a productive machine and even more likely, would be far wealthier as a result I am sure.

But I have to breathe. You might find me staring out a window quietly thinking for instance. I’m actually writing. The act of pen to paper is only one part of writing. So often I have often been criticized for just staring out a window during my life, with people violently waving their hands in my face saying, ‘hello??? anyone home???‘ Well, yes I’m bloody well home you idiot is what I wish to say when that happens but don’t because well, I’m Canadian and polite. But seeing fictional characters, feeling them, getting the details of their history, imagining their voices–all these float towards you as in a dream but you have to be quiet and still and listening for them to appear. You don’t want anyone around. You don’t want to be interrupted–dear god don’t get in the way of a writer in the midst of this process for heaven’s sake–so you  can fall and keep falling into your storyworld that was calling and calling for you all this time. It is heaven to finally get to suck in all that lovely creative air, gulping and gulping it in, finally, finally satiated.

The other day I was talking about Mrs. Everett–a story I am writing using various forms including text, audio, photographs, and video–and my son said, you talk about her as if she were real. I said to him, if she isn’t real to me, she’ll most certainly not be real for anyone else. Well, he’s a visual artist so looks at me like I’m nuts of course but a writer completely and utterly understands how these other people take up residence within us demanding their story be told.

So, after working very hard since last February in the linear real world, I am going to be holed up in December in the storyworld of Mrs. Everett and letting her finally get a chance to emerge as she wishes. I am clap-happy about these plans I can assure you as I surface for days on end to drink in the elixir of story.

Part of the storyworld of Mrs. Everett includes her poetry musings, often written in the middle of the night, usually about Mr. Everett her husband whom she has recently left. Here is a sound recording of her second poem in the project 2012-11-20 2_57_30 PM.

The first poem (Room 107) is only available to subscribers to Prue’s Postcards which you can find on my business site. In this poem/scene, Mrs. Everett (Prue) is staying on Catalina Island in California and is escaping to a posh hotel but can’t sleep as she thinks about her life and what may lie ahead for her and what she has also left behind (her marriage). I imagine she is also thinking of their early days together when they were once so in love. She remembers back when they watched Un Homme et une Femme, with Edward translating for her and saying the subtitles were all completely wrong. So, it’s a painful time of looking back for Prue (Mrs. Everett) and also with hope for what lies ahead. Here’s a still from the movie that will place you exactly in the memory she has of their heady days first in love as a young couple:

Anouk Aimée & Jean-Louis Trintignant in Un homme et une femme (1966, Claude Lelouch)

Now, because this story is written employing Transmedia techniques, I have to give Mrs. Everett a voice and image and so am standing in for her. What she actually looks like and sounds like isn’t me, so please suspend your disbelief if you think, hey that is Margaret speaking. I am, but on behalf of Mrs. Everett. Clearly you can see why my son thinks I am insane. La de da I say, and don’t give a whit if you agree with him either. For those that love a good story, this one is going to be a doozie I can tell you. So I do hope you’ll join me as I develop it. You can read the first part of the story on my business webpage at http://www.whatisyourstory.ca. The next installation is on its way soon!

4 Comments

Filed under Non-fiction, Transmedia

4 responses to “Insanity of writing, memory of marriage, and the elixir of story

  1. Meh. Cavemen didn’t need to write. I think this “need to write” is something we invent to fill the emptiness of our existence, some way of justifying the fact that we aren’t out doing things which bring us together as a community rather than celebrate our own, self invented uniqueness. Just my 2c, of course.

    • Actually, cavemen did need to write. They wrote constantly on their walls, in their fields, and shared stories. We’re hardwired to tell story even if it isn’t in the form of ‘writing’ per se.

  2. I think I actually spend more time THINKING about writing than actually doing it, at least creatively. Am I the only lazy writer out there?

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