Saturday, September 22, 2007

5 strengths as a writer


and 25 weaknesses (like the inability to spell weaknesses without looking it up).
Oh wait, this is an affirming exercise, so I see past you 25 and all your dear little friends, I see through you and focus on
strengths (well at least I choose to think of them as strengths)

1. I am not the cat and can therefore hold a pen, pencil and work a typewriter and/or computer.

********Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow and whack these words down to size, but I know if I don't hit publish now, I will sit here and continue to tweak it, and it is way past my bedtime, and in trying to chop it up when I am so tired, it will just grow and grow, like some mythic dragon, where you cut off one head, and more and more sprout in its place.************

here is my meme, as I was tagged by Vesper, poor dear, I don't know what she was thinking.

My 5 strengths as a writer

1. I am not afraid of being verbally naked. In fact I seem unable to help it. All that stuff that I try to guard and shield away from the world in my day to day life, just spills over and out of me in words. I am open and vulnerable, and am forever reminding myself to put clothes on (that I must be aware of time and place, and dress accordingly)

2. Wherever I hide, my stories find me. They may be quieter for a time, but they never leave, through my actual life they weave. Whispering in my ear from time to time, showing me things. Making connections across time. Like a song forever playing, humming, and I catch a line here and there. I think of this as a strength, because it doesn't require me to be brave, to think I can, to sit and build worlds, it is rather like, it is always there, and reveals itself to me, over time, as it chooses. Ultimately they wont be denied. It will take a lot longer if I am not brave, and don't walk toward them, seeking them out, but still, they will ambush me ( while I brush my teeth, while I weed the yard, while I sing along to the radio in the car), I know it, they will talk, and sing to me when I least expect it (and how I love to listen), lines will float in (even if I don't know what they mean), scenes will be seen, it isn't a choice I am making, they will tell me their story. The choice is just how fully I know it, and how fast. And I think of this as a gift, not one I have, but one given to me, being told stories this way.

3. I am a dreamer. I am never alone in my own head. I never feel alone in the world. Stories always fill me, real ones, tales, but also little bits of silly fluff. Everywhere strange little plants grow. Everything I see leads me off down some odd little lane. I also find I am an editor of day dreams, trying dialogue this way and that, till it feels right, changing scenes that don't work. I don't know if this is common among people who have no wish to be writers. I think this would lend itself to writing, being one who naturally loses oneself to make believe worlds, who inhabits them (or is inhabited by them), and who takes them seriously enough to spend time reworking and adjusting scenes. Part of this for me, is also the tendency to be a loner. To need and enjoy more time alone than the average person seems to wish for. I can't daydream or think through endless chatter. I have heard writers (actually read) talk of the loneliness of the writing life, of not being out with friends, of isolating oneself, of how it is hard for naturally social people, I am not naturally social, I am unnaturally unsocial.

4. I follow along as I am told, even if I do not understand why a character is there, or something that is happening. I will ask again and again,"why?" and at times try to get rid of someone, or not have something happen, but if the story says it does, regardless of what I think would make more sense, I stay true to what the story tells me. And through this I have found, that I eventually figure it out, and it all does make sense (more sense than if I had planned it), and I think what an idiot I was to have not seen it for so long. So I have faith, in what the characters, in what the story tells me, and that over time, I will figure it out, and not to fight it. Summer 06 I was sitting on a boardwalk bench (while Bob and Cheese were on amusement rides) reading a docu-book about the Holocaust (for research), and I was happy (unsettled me that I was so) because I had found information that validated a story part that I thought was a bit off, but here it was whole parts of a book about just such a subject, the story knew itself. The story knew itself. Now, I believe in time, in letting things unfold, in letting them reveal themselves. In knowing they have their own wisdom. So I can stand unsure, as long as the story tells me it is sure.

5. I like research and information. See number 4. I was happy sitting on that bench, much happier than I would be riding the rides, or looking for clothes or bric a brac in the shops. I was giddy over information (even though it wasn't happy information) because it echoed the story that had been unfolding/revealing itself to me (and I can see no good reason for me to be crazy like that, unless it means I am to be a writer. Is that a strength? Needing to be a writer to prove that all my nuttiness has merit?).

I love books. I love collecting worlds, and hearing the voices of others, and their ideas and their minds, and being close to them through words, across worlds, across time, the intimacy of it, this intimacy I cherish. Everyday language and talk can be so boring, skating along on the surface, speaking in ways that aren't compelling, meaningful, in a book you go deeper into another, and deeper into yourself, in this world, I am at home.

Researching seems boring at first, the collecting of information. But I like hunting, seeking and searching (as long as I eventually find what I need) for it, and something magical happens as I read the information, ideas form, and the story carries on in other ways I hadn't seen before. Like daydreaming with my characters and finding new stuff out about them. Not always of course, but I learn stuff even from knowing what doesn't apply to my story and characters. And it is so fantastic when the story evolves.

I am a seeker. I am curious. I know that I don't know. While I have my core values and beliefs, I am not rigid. I am a mental and emotional explorer. I love how frail, and how strong everything, everyone is. It is so beautiful, and so hard, so joyous, and so sad. There is so much tearing apart, and so much coming together. Messiness, all this mess, but also all this order, all these under-woven connections, patterns. Sometimes you look at the front of a piece and believe it lovely then see the mess on the underside, sometimes all you see is the mess upfront, but then you look deeper and see all the underlying beauty. I love being alive. I bitch and moan, whine and complain and worry, but I am so grateful to be here, to be alive, to have my time, to be able to watch it all. And all this stuff, dripping, sentimental, wonderful, wounded, sad, hard, painful, needs to go somewhere, needs to exist within me, and outside of me, needs separate space, needs to be full and whole, and known, as part of me, and apart from me. And it seems to seek a page to be released on, to be realized on.

(oh and of course I love words. Words, and thoughts, and ideas. And imagery. And metaphor. (I suppose a fondness for mixing metaphors doesn't count as a strength, nor does joy and stubbornness in making up ones own words, and wordings) To capture the elusive, to hold something intangible up to the light, to watch light streaming through it. To see the unseen. And to know that by seeing what isn't there, perhaps I can better see what is.)
( Oh and I'm not good at anything else. I have read plenty of published writers who have said that if they weren't writers they would be unemployable, as they have no other skills. If you can claim having no other skills, as a strength toward being a writer, hurray for me.)
( Surely there must be some way, some how, that I belong, that I make sense, that all this stuff that makes up me, will weave together to form something, something that I can look upon and see fragments of beauty in? That hope, that desire, is part of my strength as a writer, it keeps me yearning and searching, and trying. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life)

and number 6. because it wanted to be here, and who am I to deny several more words passage

6. I believe in the impossible.
I don't know why. I try and talk myself out of it all the time
but it matters not. It is who I am, it is how I am made. I believe.

( succinctness? um no)

Oh! I didn't tag anyone!
Well I only go where I go, and several have already done it. But several have been tagged and not done it.
So here are my tags, and re-tags.
Shameless
Grocer
Witnessing
Mediterranean
Moon

9 comments:

The Grocer said...

I'm no writer but I can empathise with many of your traits, thought provoking this piece.

Thanks for all your recent comments by the way.

Taffiny said...

Grocer,
Hi. Your pieces read like writer's writing. I was just thinking the other day, when I stopped by, that you don't need for outside plotlines, your own would do nicely enough for a book.

I hope you don't mind, but I am glad that you can empathise with many of my traits, I like the company. (so perhaps I am not so ant-social after all).

Thank you for your generous use of the term thought provoking, and thank you for coming by.

sognatrice said...

Aha! I had a feeling you had done this one.

You have great strengths, and I'm glad you ignored all those weaknesses. That *is* a hard word to spell!

So long as you keep dreaming and following wherever your characters take you, you'll have that honesty that was discussed over at my place. Being true to your characters, I think, is the best way to be true to yourself too.

And there's nothing wrong with being just a tad anti-social (or a lot) ;)

The Moon Topples said...

Ouch. I got tagged three times for this. I have finally succumbed to the peer pressure (in spite of the fun I might have otherwise had seeing how many times I could get tagged without completing the meme). You can find my results, if you wish, at my blog. Thanks for thinking of me.

Taffiny said...

What do you mean, ouch?
We all tagged you, not tackled.

Vesper said...

You've got it all, Taffiny! :-)
Use it well, listen to your characters, and you'll succeed.

Taffiny said...

I've got it all?
Yeah in my thighs!
Oh wait, this is an affirming exercise
Yeah they could use some a firming exercise

Thanks Vesper, for tagging me, and for the encouragement.

I have enjoyed and gleaned much from reading the strengths of others.

Minx said...

It's like a burn, isn't it? A burn inside that won't leave you alone. You write because you have to, go with it.

Taffiny said...

Minx, burn, I wish, I like the way that sounds, like a fire consuming one, kindling. I don't feel like a burn with passion, desire, no, I feel more haunted. Not in a bad way, but haunted. And the only way to release, is to pour out bits and pieces on paper, then they will settle down and be quiter for a time. (or be excited that I have given them some time and space, and rattle more chains, and whisper more in my ear).

Thanks for coming by Minx.