Friday, February 15, 2013

A Resolution and a Psalm

Currently reading: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I've been reading this for more than a month, and I'll probably be reading it for another two or three months.)
                            Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Currently Writing: Thesis revisions ("My Friend the Fish" is next up)
                            "Joseph Psalm"

Mike DiMartino, one of the creative minds behind Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, has started writing a blog, and I have been inspired to come back and make another entry here.

One of my friends recently asked me if I had been doing any writing lately. Normally, this would be a silly question. A better query would be "What have you been writing lately?" The truth is I haven't been writing much at all due to my thesis defense later this semester (a little over a month from now). I've been revising those nine little stories and their introduction a lot, but my pen, pencil, and laptop haven't seen anything new or not for school in a while. (NB: I'm not discounting revision as a healthy and natural part of the writing process; the two stories I've most wanted to write lately are actually novels that need substantial revision.) I did an awful lot of writing this summer, and it was the first time since high school that I had a good, solid writing habit. I miss it, and I don't want to become a summer-only writer, even if the summer months are still my most productive period for a while. So this is me trying to write something more consistently.

The problem is that I tell myself I shouldn't be writing if it isn't for my thesis or for class, since those take precedence right now. And they do take precedence. However, I've been telling myself for the last six years that I shouldn't be writing when I'm in school, and the truth is, I should be writing. I should be writing every day. Like any other system, the brain and the writing faculties will stagnate and atrophy with disuse. So this is me making a resolution to get my butt in gear and get back into the habit of writing. Because, as I told that friend I mentioned, I hate it when I'm not writing. If I'm not creating or telling a story, I feel incomplete. It's an impulse, much like the man in Sherwood Anderson's story "Hands" who can't help but use his hands when he talks. (I do this, too, so maybe there's a connection.) This is probably the reason I repeat entire conversations to my wife at day's end, Lord bless her.

I haven't been completely immobile and uncreative lately, though. Reading stories for my thesis examination and my vampire literature class (one of the best special topics I've ever taken) has given me insight and inspiration for stories that are both in my thesis and sitting in the box to be finished or revised (including my one true vampire story). The one bit of really new writing I have done lately is an attempt at a psalm from the perspective of Joseph (of Many Colors fame). Last semester, our Wednesday night group at church did a study on Joseph's life, and I realized that Joseph went through a lot of awful things that in anyone else (David, Moses, or even Jonah) would have produced a psalm or a prayer for us to read and study. But there isn't one. None of Joseph's prayers are recorded in the Bible, and when I pointed out this absence, our study leader suggested I write one. The idea has been percolating in my brain since then, and I've begun the process of writing it. All I have at this point are ideas jotted down and scrambled together in a sort of free-writing exercise. My next step is to gather them all and organize them and decide on form. It's a bit scary, since I've never done something like this before, but that's also the exciting thing about it.

I love writing.

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