Saturday, 9 February 2008

THE ALCHEMIZATION OF BLUE BIRDS

Dear old dead henry of Pretend Genius (Press) gives a sermon, one which will probably not be read by the blogtwitching hordes that descended on The Willesden Herald in the last few.

He/she addresses those who blasted the organisers and judges for not doing things as the blogtwitchers would have liked.

And in the midst of several distracting flights of pretend genius (what else?) he gives a sparkling exhortation from his pretend pulpit to ‘write gooder’. (If you are an aspiring serious writer… stick with this…)

But what exactly IS ‘gooder writing’?

‘Is he taking the piss,’ they all cried, sloping off to scribble yet another anon mis-spelled post. Relatives of Mimi (my would-be nemesis) in abundance.

NO he isn’t.

THIS is the key. THIS is what I was taught years back by a maverick who has been slated over and over himself.

YOU HAVE TO ‘LET GO’ AND LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN RIOT.
YOU HAVE TO SURPRISE YOURSELF WHEN YOU WRITE
IF YOU AREN’T SURPRISED, INTRIGUED, SWITCHED ON… WHY DO YOU THINK THE READER WILL BE???!!!

Here’s the gist of dead henry’s exhortation.

I will call it something.

The Alchemization of Blue Birds

“a blue bird, … once recorded by the brain, should not then be preserved …for the purpose of recitation. the blue bird should serve as a template that will become sublimated, transformed, coalesced, enhanced. i shall call this the 'alchemization' of the blue bird. …

should someone observe a blue bird only to recite 'blue bird' or 'flying blue thing with some other sharp pointy thing on its head' … this is non-fiction/journalism crap

it is necessary that two events occur following alchemization:

the destruction of the original template launches the mind into a realm known as 'imagination'. 'letting go'.
the mind, wanting to let go but not having the courage to completely let go produces writing based on …awareness, which resembles something that may have been the effect of this 'letting go' but in reality is an effect produced by wanting to let go, being afraid to let go, not wanting anyone to know you are afraid to let go, and finally not being able to let go. this is not gooder writing.

'letting go' is the most difficult and important part of gooder writing. should one not 'let go', the ability to access the alchemized blue bird in the 'imagination' is impossible.



(Complete sermon here)


ANY SERIOUS WRITERS READING THIS LITTLE BLOG… PLEASE CUT n PASTE THAT SMALL PARA OR TWO.

YOU CAN BUY WHOLE HOW-TO BOOKS THAT BOIL DOWN TO THAT MESSAGE.

THIS IS A LOT CHEAPER

2 comments:

Sara said...

Oh I dunno Vanessa, I consider myself a 'serious writer' but I am uncomfortable with some of what has been said.

"- the notion that gooder writing can be learned is false.
- the notion that reading can help you become a gooder writer is false.
- the notion that 'workshopping' can make you a gooder writer is false.
- the notion that feelings (suffering, love, happiness, grief, the 'heart') is the birthplace of gooder writing is false.
- the notion that the telling of a good story comprises gooder writing is false.
- the notion that mastery of language produces gooder writing is false.

if you believe that any of these notions have actually helped you to become a gooder writer, i assure you the connection (perceived) is coincidental. in short, everything you have thus far believed as it relates to gooder writing is false. once you have purged your quill of these dumbass beliefs you will be ready to work on your bow."

Makes me want to say, oh fuck off, really.

Vanessa G said...

Hi Sara

That's why I picked out the central tenet...

I have always believed that you can learn craft. You can learn it until it comes out of your ears. You can try to access raw emotion, all that jazz. But he doesn't talk about craft. He's talking about something else...

a lot of the craft issues are covered in the list. Thematic weight (writing from the heart, language, plot... a nod to the importance of reading reading reading, and the importance of feedback.

But I think he's saying all these things are USELESS without the ability to let the imagination fly.



and he said that rather well...

V