Friday, 4 July 2008
THE FRAGILITY OF IMAGINATION
(Part of getting to know my own processes, and recording them, as necessary for the course later in the year).
It is both interesting (mildly), frustrating (very) and unexpectedly damaging (to me and my writing process) to have debate with and occasional feedback from a writer with little or no imagination. But also watching the onslaught on other writers, its taking its toll.
Everything I have written has elements that can only be described as gifts from somewhere I have no control over, a joyous well that bubbles up with images, connections... wacky, crazy, poignant, original. And it's those that have got my work noticed, in addition to the voices, the craft stuff.
In the end, we have to work with those who at least understand what we're doing, and who give straight feedback on the work itself. Too much of the opposite eats away after a while, like acid on a stone.
Of course, if the writer doesn't create a work that makes the reader 'believe' what is happening, that is another matter. If the character isn't solid, if the voice is out, the language not appropriate, that is one thing.
But if a reader, intelligent, well informed, well read, feeds back time after time that no person ever does this. Or feels this. Or could possibly do a, b, c... and does it in a way that is laden with sarcasm... it builds up and has an effect.
There is a Workhouse inmate like this. Great, articulate, clever, amusing... but also unwilling to exactly say where he is published. Playing games. Keeping team mates dangling. And in the end, it becomes all about the person, and not about the contribution they make to the team.
I feel crunch time approaching, and maybe it is a good thing. I need to work harder at the novel. Breakthrough of sorts in passing 50K last week.
I am finding that his voice has become a parrot on my shoulder. Instead of thinking 'Oh this is such FUN writing this...' I'm going through a patch of hearing his voice: 'This wouldn't happen. Rubbish. Oh wow, you can't write that. No person ever ever could do that. This is crap writing...don't even edit. Bin it...'
Yes, its weak. Yes, I shouldn't let it through. I know all that.
But it does have an unexpectedly deep effect on what I'm doing. In an interview for Eclectica, due up later this month, I was asked if the Glass Bubble in the title story of my collection is representative of my writing in any way. And of course, yes, it is. It's where everything comes from. And sadly, I am finding out how fragile it is. How easily shattered.
And there is no way on this planet I could put what I'm writing now on my own place for feedback. And that is just crazy!! So I'm putting up poetry, and I am happy knowing I'm just 'crawling' in the running race with that. I seem to have reversed the 'caring about negative feedback' processes here. Usually we tend to get stronger, don't we? Or maybe its just this a passing thing. We'll see.
But also, its happening at a time when I know I desperately need to take a back seat anyway.