As writers, we battle many realities. Whether these realities stand the test of truth remains to be seen. We build them, live them, and write them. Once a particular reality imposes itself on us, what we built, lived, and wrote either comes crashing down in a pile of text-debris or the writing stands, however wobbly, until the next reality assault. This sounds like building a house on the ocean shore and the realities are storms and hurricanes which tear through periodically.
Please allow me to shift to first-person at this point. As a writer, I desire certain aspects of my life to coincide with my writing desires and my creative nature. Writing, for me, stands as a quest for truth. What truth? Whatever truth my mind and heart must pursue.
At my age, I’ve come to realize many truths exist in this world. Simply take the “truths” about health and eating well along with appropriate amounts of exercise. If I am to believe all the “truths” out there in the world, then I may eat anything or nothing as well as everything in between, and all I need to do physically falls much along the same lines. Therefore, where lies the truth?
The reality, for me, sets in when I deny that sugar is mostly bad for me and I feed my body quantities which rob me of energy as well as other negative impacts on my physical health which I don’t even feel. Up until that point though, my reality nurtures the seed of a thought that chocolate ice cream heals my depression. While that may seem absurd in one light, don’t discount the “truth” of comfort food. Lol!
As a writer, I confront my own views of reality constantly. I believe every writer should. I’ve come to realize that as soon as I peg some aspect of my writing as written-in-stone truth, something comes along and challenges my position. Is it any wonder writers can be so neurotic and downright weird? (How about the reality of “i before e except after c? In the last word of the sentence before the parenthesis, the word ‘weird’ does not follow this rule. In fact, a study found that the rule is only correct 38% of the time! There’s a reality for you!).
Sometimes as a writer, I convince myself I know something without truly knowing. Ok, so as people we do this all the time, right? We may guard against doing this, but somewhere, sometime, someplace we find out we were…what? Mistaken? Wrong? Incorrect? Misled? Whatever label I wish to place on my faux pas, reality must take up residence in my thought processes. I wrestle with some, especially the “high concept” realities of conventional writing vs creative license. My struggle in this area stems from the talking heads and pundits who scream you must write in a rule-laden prison, constantly slaving at the jots and tittles of writing instead of allowing yourself to fling your imagination and creativity to the cosmic winds of chaos.
I do realize the reality of a certain level of conformity being necessary for the end user – the reader. Yet my inner truth and reality screams and shouts that creativity needs elbow room. No, more than elbow room. Creativity needs galaxies of room. Creativity needs a time and place where one thought may never run into another or that one thought may run into godzillion other thoughts. I cannot believe, by the way, that my spell checker did not red-mark the word “godzillion.” Now I must go look it up. I thought I was creating a new word! Lol!
Godzillion – my online dictionary asks me if I meant “gazillion” which means:
Ah, but realities of the outside world, that place external to my mind and heart, love to storm my stronghold, my creation and attempt to blow the writing down. Sometimes the external realities indeed demolish the writing. Most often, though, my writing stands, however wobbly that stance may be. One of the critical concepts I cling to in my writing life as well as my personal life is the fact that the majority of these “external realities” stem from someone else’s reality encroaching on mine. I must decide whether to stand firm or buckle.
I realize this post is taking place in my own little mind and that some, possibly many or most readers will not necessarily follow what I’m attempting to say. That’s true of everything we write, at least in my own reality. For those who get what I’m saying, those who actually feel a connection to this text sprayed on this screen (god I hope someone does! lol!), this post exists for you. And me. For I truly write for myself as much as I write for others.
I wrestle, in respect to writing, with reality. No matter whether I’m writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay – doesn’t matter. I wrestle with creating something consumable. I fly my internal universes of chaotic creativity with the express purpose of returning with raw nuggets of truths. Writing becomes an adventure. A happy place. A sad place. A frightening place. An enlightening place. When I return to this world you’re reading now, my perpetual hope and desire remains that something I emerge with, held in these symbols we call text, words, sentences, paragraphs – ideas – helps you the reader in some form or fashion.
My view of writing, for now, sees the process as a challenge to my external realities. I know what I’m thinking when I write. Can I convey these thoughts and concepts to someone living another reality? Isn’t this what we do as writers? For me, this is the truth which drives me – will my truth, my reality, connect with others and will my writing help me connect dots in my own life? The writing endeavor truly gets defined by the journey.
My sparring time with external realities now commences. As I prepare to click the “Publish” button, I’m easing out of my creative chaos hoping I’ve snatched something of importance to someone. I feel I have indeed snagged something of importance for myself which always stands as enough for me to continue this writing life. Retention becomes the next challenge! Lol! “Go write and you won’t go wrong!” That’s my book title and it’s my personal mantra. Don’t allow external realities crush your spirit. Use them to grow your writing into the garden you desire to create.