Friday, January 18, 2013

Writer's Nightmare

"A daydreamer is a writer 
just waiting for pen and paper."
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

Where do stories come from?  How does an author conjure up new adventures, new characters, and realities that seem to peel off the printed page?  How do they engage the reader's imagination so effectively?  And how is it that so many diverse tales even exist, with more scribbled out daily to add to a truly endless library? 

The fact that billions of unique people enter and leave this world (and perhaps other worlds) is proof that at least that many unique stories are possible.  But how do authors think up these wild tales?  Though this is a frequently asked question, there is no single answer--no perfect process.

Some say that artistic insight is granted by the Muses, and that it can be robbed from a writer by the same beautiful goddess of inspiration.  Others account for creativity by calling it talent--a gift from God that improves with use.  There's also the thought that inspiration is whispered influence from ghosts of past poets and authors.  And still others attribute an unsettled mind or unbridled imagination as the spring of creative writing.  Genius?  Madness?  Delusions?  Dreams?  Or the gift of an enchanted pen?

I believe...  " Artistry exists in everyone.  What makes it blossom is a soul's personal desire to find an outlet for expression." 
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

In the same way that people are not born with identical characteristics, writers are not inspired in the same fashion, nor for the same reasons.  Some require outside stimuli to spark a creative flame, needing environmental immersion in music or softy-whispered poetry.  Some prefer to be surrounded by panoramas of artwork, collectibles, or a library of favorite books where every glance is tied to memories that act as prompts for fresh ideas.  

Many writers read incessantly for inspiration, taking in a wealth of finely-narrated stories, allowing these adventures to swirl and blend in their subconscious until new ideas emerge, borrowed from proven talent.  Still other authors formulate their best stories from everyday experiences; adopting the hobby of 'people watching' in order to develop realistic and colorful characters.  They often write in public settings--at a central table or hidden in a corner--to observe human interactions when not engaged in furious bouts of writing.  Some books are simply the result of adoration for another being's existence.  

Then there are artists, like myself, who work best in the absence of stimuli, craving peace and utter silence.  Perhaps this is because of being easily distracted.  Or because imagination treads as warily and timidly as its mistress, willing to abandon inhibitions only in solitude.  Or, perhaps it is that silence allows the whispers of muses to reach the ear, while stillness invites the gentle hand of divine inspiration.  

"Some build their castles 'mid thunderbolts and fireworks.  
My worlds take shape in silence."
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

And that brings me to another place of serenity where many have been inspired to write.  I speak of the extraordinary realm of dreams.  Whether hypnotized by a vivid daydream or overcome by sleep, raven to the winds of fantasy, the creative process sprouts wings within a disencumbered mind.  Imagination runs wild, as they say, because nothing is absurd or unreal or nonsensical in Dreamland.  Dreams innocently grasp the possibility of anything!  The trick is - during that hazy state between slumber and cognizance - to quickly memorize the performance before it evaporates in the light of reason.

Regardless of the circumstances and means for artistic creativity, all authors will agree that when immersed in the process, writing is a passionate experience.  The hours spent forming a written work can make one obsessive, distracted, compulsive, and neurotic even, especially when it comes to those rare, precious occasions of streaming pure inspiration.  To have a muse moment interrupted - to watch her scuttle back into hiding with unshared insight remaining on the tip of her tongue - is a wicked irritation.  When a writer's eyes glaze over, when she stares off at nothing or appears to be memorizing the lines on a blank page, when she falls asleep at the desk.......tiptoe softly.  For a writer's greatest desire is to receive inspiration; her greatest nightmare, to have tossed to the wind what could've been captured in words.  


By Richelle E. Goodrich

I felt a grip on my arm that shook my body, forcefully pulling me toward a tunnel of darkness.   The threat of consciousness stole my steady breath. For a moment I believed myself to be under siege; ripped from the sky in mid flight, my wings useless against the monstrous claws shredding my reality. I struggled to remain, to be left alone, aloft.  Reaching with wings that through the power of imagination were suddenly feathered arms, I grabbed at the air.  My hands clutched at something solid.  Wooden.  A desk.  My head spun as I held the furniture, suffering the illusion of falling.  

"I was flying," I gasped, realizing suddenly that it had all been a dream. "My best fantasy ever."  

Lifting my head from its resting spot on the writing desk, I worked mentally to secure the fading images, hoping to capture their essence to memory before they faded away forever.  Bitterness tainted my heart against the hand that had jerked me into sensibility.  Why was I always so callously awakened while doing my best work?  Why not let me dream?

What no (spouse) of a writer can ever understand is 
that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.  
~Burton Rascoe