Probably forming sentences in grade school, but my first memory of writing stories was in the third grade. There weren’t many creative writing assignments, so I would write my own stories and share them with the teacher and class. I wrote about dragons, ghosts, and my Himalayan cat Maya. The teacher helped me laminate the illustrated pages and connect them with a spiral binder. It was my own book series. Mrs. Meyers was my favorite teacher, she told me, ‘I wish all the students were as interested in writing as you.
Dreams, mythology, and folktales inspire me. Joseph Campbell, and his books revealing the power of myths. I love nursery rhymes, limericks, and wonder tales. The sing-songs playful use of words in children’s stories inspire me. My dad gave me a copy of Haroun and the Seas of Stories when I was little. Our stories represent our subconscious fears and yearnings, our need for belonging, and our search for justice and righteousness. The surrealist movement and any expedition into our subconscious inspires me. Our subconscious wraps truths in a creative and imaginative veneer. Great writers find the truth in myths and break open harmful myths. Other writers who inspire me are the people who reveal painful truths in service to humankind. James Baldwin and Arundhati Roy come to mind.
Once, while reading Henry Miller I became overcome with a sense of companionship. Feeling isolated and lonely, I found solace in written words on a page, as though I was actually with another person. My illusion of separateness was severed. A story’s ability to draw us in depends upon identification with the characters. There must be a human connection in order for us to follow along, and then once we have made that connection, a good story will challenge us for connecting. There must always be that push-pull balance between drawing us in and expanding our perspective. That gap between our alignment with the stories world and our displacement from our expectations is the essence of drama.
I have none. I pace around a room and then angrily pound out thoughts on a keyboard. When I handwrite I deliberately make myself write slow so my hand doesn’t strain itself with exertion. I require many breaks, exercise during those breaks helps. The blood needs to be flowing. The thoughts I’m trying to get out animate me, and I can only successfully write when it takes full possession of my faculties. It is a full-on birthing process, painful and exhausting, yet infinitely rewarding,
Writing is only scribing thoughts, and the rules for it are pretty fluid. It’s hard to tell what may connect with another person, so writing for the self is the only way to keep on. Thoughts are inadequate expressions, and words even more so. We have limited tools to poke around trying to find the shape of elusive objects in the dark, and none are more gifted in finding them, only more adept at poking around. Endurance is more useful than insight here. But when the shape of things in a dark room becomes apparent, they’ll do the rest of the work for you, and you can relax a little.
It’s an environment to poke around in and exercise those subconscious parts of the brain. Hearing a direct response to my work has clued me in on whether I am actually connecting, and the tools the mentors give are invaluable. The many prompts from every angle been extremely useful, as has finding what makes other writers tick, and their process for graphing out their thoughts. These workshops helped me decipher a mission in my writing, I respect writers who write without purpose, but I have an end goal in mind. I wish to rewrite all the myths.