Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Person Who Chose to Write

There are people who must write. That's not me. Or at least it wasn't me. I came to writing in a very convoluted, accidental way, the way I come to most things I end up loving. I came thousands of kilometers to find my husband, on a very circuitous route both physically and mentally. I came the same way to writing. I found it when I was looking for something else. It was a bit of sparkle under the leaves, below the mud. I could have passed it if I'd been looking for it, I wouldn't have thought to look there. I had to find it by accident.

Even the way I'm moving along my writing journey is meandering and unguided, a bit mad and untamed. I started writing about headaches and then a trip across the desert, then how to keep caged birds. Real life couldn't hold my words and they broke away and drifted through my brain and came out as a different reality, the one where I was in control. And then I wrote about murders. I wrote about tsunami survivors finding new love with their broken apart hearts. Later I drifted around and came back home to Botswana and found little girls hiding from school in dry river beds and murderous teachers killing their lovers in the desert. Lately, I step out of my life for months at a time and live a new life created by my wayward mind with each word put down on the page. I've travelled in my writing, even more than in my real life.

In my writing, I can be a white woman today and a tortured murdering husband tomorrow. A psychopathic son-killing mother the day after that. This afternoon I was a black lawyer trying to find a way to get the wife he'd thrown away back. I get to try on lives, real life doesn't allow for that, I only get to do that when I write.

Unlike real life where stories started by a conversation with a stranger on a bus never get a proper ending, I can start and finish a story in a single day and feel quietly complete. A single beautiful thing in real life flicks by in an instant and you hardly get a chance to accept its existence before it has joined your memories of the past, but in my writing I can stay stuck on a beautiful thing for as long as I like, I can stop time if I want to. Who can stop time in real life?

I could write a list of the pros and cons of writing, but it will tell me nothing. It will not lead me to a decision about anything. The depth of one pro may be so deep that thousands of shallow cons could get lost inside it. I am not a person who must write, I am a person who chose to write. I've fallen deeply in love with my accidental choice, I doubt I can easily walk away from that.


CA Heaven said...

I'm about to do the same now. Here's what happened during the Easter holidays:

I had read a couple of crime novels that were no more than average. Entertaining, yes, but deifnitely not Kafka nor Dostoyevsky. In a moment of overwhelming self confidence, I claimed to my wife that I could write equally well myself. Her reply was: Then prove it!

So, now I'm setting up the plot, creating the main characeters and so on. This is just a hobby experiment, so guess I will post chapter by chapter on my blog, when I start to write it up.

And as long as I'm busy writing, I will at least be able to keep my mouth shut >:)

Sue Guiney said...

Beautiful, Lauri. I've said it before and I'll say it again...we're all bozos on this bus. I'm glad you got on board!

Val said...

i had a taste of this lovely freedom when i did the NaNoWriMo challenge last year - it really was a lot of fun making up stories!!
i love how you relate your journey to writing - making it more accessible to all in the process. thank you for your encouragement to all, and willingness to share this journey!

Lauri said...

Cold As Heaven- I'll keep an eye on your blog. I love writing the twisty plots of crime novels. I think that's why it has been an easy move to romance which also needs a controlled plot. Good luck!

Thanks Sue! I like the image of us all being Bozos. It reminds me of a show we used to watch when we got home from school called Bozo's Circus- did you ever watch it? I loved Cookie, the down and out clown. I always identify with the underdog.

Val- Writing is such a fun escape. I'm glad you enjoyed NaNoWriMo. How's the manuscript now? Have you sent it out anywhere?

groovyoldlady said...

Wonderful, Laurie...

Miss Footloose said...

The creative part of writing (not all of it is!) is wonderful, and you describe it so well. Trying on other personalities is fun and interesting, and playing God with the lives of fictional characters is a kick.

And you can do all of it any time of day or night of your choosing, sitting at your desk or on a bed in your pjs. Or in the buff. What a job!

(Okay, there are a few negatives, but let's not go there now ;)

Helen Ginger said...

This is a beautiful post. Your love of writing shines through. Also, your gift of writing is evident in the words and the way you put them together. This piece is a song that takes me, in a way, into your soul.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

This spoke to me, Lauri. I am glad you chose to write. So glad.

Gutsy Living said...

You know I'm scared to write fiction. I honestly don't know how I could place myself in the head of a murderer. Perhaps I need to overcome this fear, and there is also another reason. Unlike most writers, I did not read much during my childhood.

karen said...

Great post about your journey(s). I'm really enjoying reading your weekly column, by the way, although any writerly aspirations I once had are on hold till retirement, I think!