Veronique Darwin

Is It Because

In Inspiration, My Writing on August 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm

When I’m not writing, is it because I have nothing to say? But I speak at all hours of the day, to whoever will listen. I speak in full phrases in my head. I interrupt myself and continue the conversation you are having over there with someone who isn’t answering fast enough. I’m not writing because I have nothing to say.

When I’m not writing, is it because I’ve lost my nerve? But I step out of the door every day, sometimes to terrifying places. I try new things, I cook food, I carry heavy boxes over very tiny toes. I’m not writing because I’ve lost my nerve.

When I’m not writing, is it because I’ve become bored with my work, with my mind? Maybe I’m just letting my work go off and do its own thing, go on vacation, because I honestly haven’t thought about it for weeks. Maybe it’s bored with me.

When I’m not writing, I’m rearranging bookshelves and getting tingly excited by literary things in a way that I don’t when I’m trying to accomplish them. When I’m not writing, maybe I’m becoming reinvigorated and reseduced by writing.

When I’m not writing, is it because I’ve decided writing isn’t important anymore? I don’t think so, because I’m always so frustrated that I’m not writing and saying things to myself like What does my life even mean anymore?

But I don’t have that edge when I’m not writing, that edge like I’m going to fall off the edge of the world at any moment to go write down the world. I love that nervous energy at dinner parties after even half a glass of wine when I think of all the characters I know and can’t wait to get back to.

When I was little, I would be out for forest walks and just want to go home and draw a picture of people lined up in rows. That is a very vivid memory for me, of every time I was out on a forest walk, returning home and drawing an image that was maybe at first supposed to be the beauty of the forest or something but would just end up being cartoon people standing in rows, each with different hair, a different facial expression, funny looking feet.

Is it because I’m not writing that I’m not writing? Yes! That’s it!

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Nuggets

In Inspiration on July 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Nuggets – things I grew up thinking were chunks of chickens, not chunks of gold – are where I get my ideas. Writers say they get their ideas from the world around them, from other books, or from research. Okay. But aren’t you mainly just inspired by a nugget? A truth, often simple, generally arrived at on the toilet or in the shower, and in popular culture featured on Twitter. Nuggets! I get my ideas from writing down nuggets, and then trying to recreate the bird.

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Oh, what fun writing can be if you only draw one eye and have to uncover the rest of the decomposing body. What a joy it can be when you realize that you don’t have all the pieces, and the reader won’t either, and that this arm and this leg and part of this torso are all your story needs. It’s a way of discovering the ending too: what is left to tell? What should be left untold?

I tried writing a fantasy story today. It may have worked. Fantasy feels like history, as though you need a keen sense of what has come before and what rules are required of you before you begin. But today I let myself go (which is really my only mode of writing, a loose, lazy letting go of self never really followed by a catch). And out came this spool of a story that had wings, and monsters, but was still a peephole into our own world, which I think all good fantasy must be.

I know fantasy through Neil Gaiman and children’s literature. What I know from reading these books is that a world needs to be clear to the writer, and the boundaries and parameters of that world need to be divulged to the reader as soon as possible. But I also know that with a new world comes new discoveries, and unexpected surprises, and it seems that the beauty in writing this kind of fiction would be in seeing those nuggets you’ve created grow into something you’ve never heard of before but have, unwittingly, invented.

I wonder how far the story I started today will take me, how long I’ll write this blog for, or what one day I’ll think of when I hear the word nugget, but what I know is without these suggestions at truth there is no story at all. I also know that when I read a story I can find the nugget, and it gives me almost the same passion as the writer had to dig deeper, to know more. I’m reading Kafka on the Shore. 15 school children fell down all at once, hypnotized. I just finished The World Before Us. Ghosts follow one person around, trying to find out who they are. Think of Karl Ove: what if I wrote a truthful, detailed account of all of me? Nuggets: they are what stories are made from and why they are alive.

Because I Told Someone I had a Blog

In My Writing on July 8, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Because I told someone I had a blog, and gave them the URL, (which is that really a thing anymore?) I think I should write a post today. Because also I read a few previous posts and laughed at them, so can recognize that at least this blog pleases me. Because I have been writing a lot lately but maybe not thinking a lot about my writing. Because I have NOT been writing a lot lately, and where did that sentence come from?

Here is what writing has become to me lately: sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep but can’t I think about my novel, then I fall asleep.

I opened another blog to be more professional. It has my name in the URL (which has to still be a thing) and it has pictures of me and it is meant to promote me as a serious writer. Unfortunately, I am not one, so the blog didn’t work! I am a writer who also got lost into being a teacher and being a person who buys a house and being a person who cooks and does dishes. I am being a person, and writing is hard to fit into that framework!

This is not my professional blog. This is my tree fort of complaints. This is my childhood room of insecurities. This is my diary of questions, left open on the corner of my expertly-cluttered desk, begging you to read me with few expectations and a little embarrassment (on your account, to be reading it).

B-log it is not. This is not a book, or a log. It is not a thing! It is a place I go to when I want to think about writing but feel that the empty page, the blinking cursor, is too much right now. It is the place I go to for 3 likes on Facebook, for a boost in robot stats, for a sense of accomplishment from releasing something into the world that isn’t a sneeze, that isn’t a piece of my hair blowing out behind me.

Because writing is this thing I do and I need to do it, and stop just not doing it all the time.

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