Monday, May 15, 2006

Theory #1

I've been putting a lot of thought into what exactly is causing my writer's block.

SOMEONE WITH A LICK OF SENSE: "Hey, maybe instead of wasting your time thinking, you should just try WRITING!"

I've come up with a few things. I think if I can just pinpoint what the cause of the block is, then it'll go away, and I can write again.

Here's theory #1: I read faaaaar less frequently than I used to. When I go back and examine my reading/writing history, I realize that I WROTE the most when I READ the most. When I read the least, I wrote the least. Now, I'm probably reading the least that I've ever read in my whole life. I'm busy, I don't have gazillions of dollars to spend on books (hell, I can't even give to the children with cancer, remember?), the excuses could go on and on. But let's say this is it, that reading and writing are directly proportional, and the reading causes the writing. Why?

S.W.A.L.O.S.: "I thought if you figured out the cause of the block, the block would go away! Now you're trying to figure out the science behind the cause? CHEATER! You're just trying to avoid writing because of your fear of failure!"
[Someone With A Lick Of Sense has just given you theory #2, a good and reasonable theory, but one which we will explore at a later date.]

Is it because when I read, the creative parts of my mind are activated and the creativity starts flowing, or is it because when I read, those ideas get in my head, another persons voice, and prose, and syntax, and foreshadowing, and symbolism get into my head, and I want to make it my own? What if everything I've ever written was just a mishmash of stuff already created by other people, and I'm only repeating it because I liked it so much when I read it? What if I'm a reader, not a writer, and I only WANT to be a writer, but I have no actual creative independent thought on my own, only a regurgitation of something that has come before? If I take your idea and dress it up in a brand new nose and glasses, isn't it still your idea?

I went to a writing workshop when I was 17 and the poet Ed Hirsch spoke at the dinner at the end. I will never forget one thing he said-that writers were readers whose love of books spilled over. Maybe I am just a reader, but maybe all writers are just readers. Maybe all writers take in others ideas and, after pummelling them around in their own brains and adding a little experience and opinion, regurgitate them as their own. Because then, they are.

Ok. Theory #1 digested. Will start reading more. Tune in tomorrow for the results.


At 1:54 PM, Blogger Jenni said...

I know what you mean.

For me, reading does seem to stimulate the ol' writing hand. Also: I get serious inspiration from watching movies about writers or painters (or any artists really). Seeing their passion for what they are doing makes me want to get back at it.

But, even though I know things that inspire me, I'm afraid I'm still stricken with Theory #2. Fear of failure.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger changapeluda said...

I like the way you think, Hippie Mama. Keep up the good blogging, I mean reading and/or writing :0)


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