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Just yesterday, I was struggling to come up with something to blog about. My Aunt Celia died early this morning.
In my continuing James Lipton-channeling interviews with fellow bloggers, I’ve had the pleasure of picking 1writegirl’s mind in typical ML seriousness/silliness. Be prepared to laugh and think, dear reader. Enjoy…and I know you will.
1. I’ve heard people say that they can’t write because they haven’t had anything terrible happen to them…or at least nothing interesting in comparison to what others deal with. (For example, someone might say that it’s silly to write a poem about split ends when there are people who could recount their death camp survival stories.) Do you find yourself needing to justify or validate the importance of your writing?
Not really. I mean I compare my work to that of other writers, I can’t help doing so, but everyone has their own story to tell, and not everyone can be a death camp survivor (Alas? Fortunately?). Granted, if all you ever wrote about was split ends, people would quickly tire of reading your stuff, but the trick is to take whatever you have to say and say it in such a way that other people find it intriguing. I think it’s true that much of the great writing in the world comes from either great despair or great joy, these are the times we are most inspired to write and as a result, produce deeper and more reflective pieces. But it can be done at any time, it just takes a bit more digging and more imagination when you aren’t being bombarded with some catastrophe or ecstasy. Look at Jane Austen. She wrote detailed novel after novel about complicated and intricate relationships between men and women, while in reality, she never experienced anything like that. Ditto with the Bronté sisters. It was strictly their imaginations that created those works that, amazingly enough, at least half the world could relate to, generation after generation. The other thing that keeps me from feeling a strong need to justify my writing is that I write first and foremost for myself, and secondarily, for others to read. Most writers I think are like this, at least those of us who don’t make a living from our writing – compelled to write, not sitting at a computer generating words because that’s our livelihood. We find time to write in spite of all else that’s going on in our lives, so naturally, what we write about is going to be important (to us, anyway.)
2. Let’s just say you are on a deserted island and there is little hope of rescue. There is, however, a broken CD player that constantly plays one song over and over and over again. Let’s also say you cannot access the CD player. It is in a tree and being guarded by a tropical raven-hawk beast, but you can choose the song. What would it be?
Ha! Okay, well, I guess I could rack my brain to come up with a song that I wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again for the rest of my life, but truth be told, there probably isn’t one. So I think I’d pick Beethoven’s Für Elise, that way I’d know the tune by heart but wouldn’t have the lyrics scrambling around in my brain interfering with all the great writing I’d be doing while stranded on this desert island.
3. How do you think blogging has influenced (your) writing?
First and foremost, it’s encouraged me to be more disciplined, writing almost daily. And secondly, it’s allowed me to experiment with other genres (like poetry) besides creative non-fiction and lengthy fiction, which is where the majority of my energies went previously. Prior to starting my blog, I wrote very little poetry. In addition, having an audience, one that gives you feedback, is conducive to improving qualities like clarity and subtle meaning you want the work to reflect. It’s harder to get these things when your work doesn’t see the light of day.
4. If you were sitting in a bar with your brain and you had a conversation, what would it be like?
Me: So, I’ve noticed you light up every time you’re in the presence of this guy, or even just thinking about him. Are you crazy-in-love with him, or what?
Brain: Most people would refer to it as being crazy-in-love. Apparently, however, I’m chemically addicted to him.
Me: I see. Is he chemically addicted to you?
Brain: I think so, but to a lesser degree.
Me: What will you do now?
Brain: I could really go for a cappuccino. Or, I could go jogging, and then get a cappuccino… I made it all the way down to Orcutt Street yesterday without stopping.
Me: Very funny. You know what I mean.
Brain: Damn, I just can’t fool you, can I? Okay, what will I do… just accept my feelings; accept his feelings. Stay unlocked (that’s brain slang for “keep an open mind.”)
Me: What’s your latest unexpected and/or random thought?
Brain: Hmmm…Well, I’ve been toying with the idea lately of joining a convent. Patience is a virtue, you know. I hear the nuns are all over it.
Me: I thought you didn’t believe in God?
Brain: Is that going to be a problem?
Me: Besides, what would you do with your son?
Brain: What, Catholics don’t like kids? That’s not what I’ve heard. But maybe you’re right. Maybe the convent isn’t the best place for someone like me. I mean, do they even serve cappuccino? And what if I want a smoke with my cappuccino? No, probably not a good fit…
Me: So, what are your plans?
Brain: What is it with plans, anyway? Does there always have to be a plan? Okay, okay…For now, work, make money… Learn to play the guitar. Learn to speak Spanish.
Me: What about long term?
Brain: Write. Travel when I can. Find joy in little pockets here and there. Live simply. And try to grasp some sort of comprehension, if possible, with regard to our existence, or lack thereof, in this universe. Then, of course, the grand finale: Die.
5. Seriously, what is your stance on black being neutral and “going with everything”?
ML, you’ll never catch me saying that black is over-rated, though neutral probably isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. Going with everything? Come now, a white cotton strappy sundress with clunky black heels? A navy blue suit with black pumps? I think not. I do love it, however; it’s the predominant color in my wardrobe. Not everyone looks good in black either. I happen to wear it well because it contrasts nicely with my blonde hair and fair skin. Or so I’ve been told. And I choose to believe it. Please don’t burst my bubble.
Check out 1writegirl’s blog at http://1writegirl.wordpress.com/.
We’ve built a happy home
created the life we wanted
the bubble that won’t pop
the reality blissfully skewed to our liking
With adopted children from the midsection
cousins in far away places
uncles and aunts
and mothers and fathers from all those places we’ve never been
writers, conspirators, sympathizers, antagonists all
don’t stay away too long
Of late, it’s been all gloomy skies and admittedly even gloomier than I care for. I am looking forward to the weekend. Last week was rough on every front. This week has been an exercise in survival (I’ve been running a week-long program for a group of high school students), but I am patting myself on the back because I’ve made it. And anyway, life is good when you have a Coke Zero and a chocolate Poptart.
Tonight, I am going to my friend’s house to eat fattening food and watching God-awful horror movies.
What amuses me is that Sunday, I will be going to church with my rather stuffy, evangelical brother and sister-in-law and then I am going to support Bryan at a gay pride pic-a-nic. So, while my brother tries to tell me that his version of Christianity is the right one and all, I will be laughing at the inside joke.
And then, next week, I will be going on vacation next Thursday. If I can find internet, I’m bound to post because unlike Bryan, I have no qualms posting while on vacation because I want to vacate my life, not my blog. Fridays and Coke Zero inspire run-on sentences.
I’ve started to make the rounds to blogs again. You have been the many friends I have neglected the last several months, and I am glad to see you again. Bryan would tell you, as he tells everyone else, to not mind my absence, I’m in my Dark Place. You, dearest ones, have been supportive of me since I’ve been blogging and especially of late and I want to say a pitiful but heartfelt “Thank you” to you.
So as I navigate unfamiliar waters in the Lighter-than-my-Dark-Place Place, I bid you a good day and weekend.