Interrupting my my series of posts on New Years intentions (yes it will be a series I believe), yet in the vein of the new year-new page spirit in which I am writing them, I’d like to say I’m happy to see my friend Rosie back in blogging action with an excellent post wherein she chooses three words to inform her upcoming year. We often do things like this in my writing program at school. “Describe your character in one word.” “Tell your story in one sentence.” At first (okay always) these are frustrating requests. It feels like you are being asked to summarize your profound opus into a sound bite. But after a while you realize it’s not about that, it’s about understanding what is at the core of your creation, if you scrape all the other layers away, what is the most important element that remains. The more you struggle to articulate, the closer you can come to knowing what the thing is that motivates and enlivens the creation. And knowing that actually brings a certain kind of freedom, because a lot of stuff becomes expendable or mutable–or, to bring Buddhism into it as I like to do, you become less attached to things–and then you can be a bit more objective perhaps. If I understand that a scene is about reconciliation, then I perhaps change the locations or the people or the time…I now know I can do any of that as long as it is about reconciliation.
Not that that is easy… At least half the time all I know is that it takes place on a subway. I write the whole thing, and still don’t know, and then finally I figure out what it’s about and I realize that if it’s about reconciliation between two specific characters, it would be better expressed on top of a building.
So, if our live are our creations, and I think to a large extent they are, that struggle for three words seems worthwhile. I’m going to be thinking about it as I complete my list of intentions.