Free writing, free thinking. Clusters, exercises, commentaries. These are all part of the OU Creative Writing course I have just started, this last two weeks it is like someone flipped a switch, turned me on, if you excuse the pun, it’s rather tongue in cheek but I am excited, tantalised, something has wet my appetite and I have a thirst for ….Je ne sais quoi…not knowledge…ooooh what’s the word? I’m suffering from lethologica- when you can’t recall the precise word for something. I have a desire to write, but not particularly about any one thing.
I seem to be inspired by everything, from the student who barges through my office door, launches into a speech and then is all of a sudden distracted by her surroundings and asks “do you like flowers?”, to the clouds in the sky which have taken the form of two opposing Gods, like Zeus vs Poseidon playing football with the rather perfectly formed cumulus between them.
Then there is also the “life writing” aspect of this course. I certainly will not suffer from lack of content in that respect. My closest friends and parents know this last week has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Highs and lows, flip turned from one to the other it is a wonder I didn’t suffer from vertigo. I came across a piece I had written earlier in the the summer today, when I was loved up, on a natural high. Imbibed with emotion. Drunk on happiness. It was a beautiful piece I have to say, perhaps one day it won’t be too painful to share.
Today, writing about the same relationship from a different perspective, my writing is bleak. Phrases like “the screeching sound of sorrow”, words like mournful, melancholy, dull…a light year away from the vivaciousness of my character from my earlier piece.
But in the nature of being a writer I find I jot a myriad of phrases down every day. Today’s favourites include “fruit de fucking loop”, used by a friend to describe a woman who is, yeah, there’s no denying it, she’s a fruit de loop. You get me?
My other favourites musings in my beloved notebook (I’m still favouring the one with the feather and yes I still want my tattoo) include a distant colleagues rant “it’s puerile darling and I just can’t bear it”…. I’m dying to use that in a story somewhere….it just, which story do I pick first? The olive oil press? The Spider in the Dollshouse? The one about the well groomed woman? Or perhaps something else that will strike me who knows when? In the supermarket, on my 120 miles round trip to uni, on the toilet? I wonder where E.L James was when she was blessed with the idea for Mr Grey? For her publicists sake I hope not on the porcelain throne.
Writing about yourself is both easy and hard. So easy as words go onto the page like raindrops in a thunderstorm. Reading it back and allowing it to be read by others is the hard part. I’m a pretty open person as most of you know. But letting others read what you’ve only just discovered about yourself on the page is a huge risk. Not that I care what people think. I’ll never apologise for being me.
Writing about others or creating characters is fun but can be hard to make it believable. Keep it real…but when I think of some of my favourite books, can it honestly say they keep it real? Exaggeration is key but it still has to be believable, or conceivable.
Then there’s poetry, don’t even get me started. My poems tend to be unhappy, dark thoughts, put on to the page as a form of self harm. Some cut themselves, I bleed through ink on the page. My teenage attempts at poetry were, sophisticated yes, but sad to read back. I will get them posted on here sometime soon…perhaps as a reminder that there’s no going back there. Perhaps I ought to rewrite them from my almost 30 year old self perspective rather than the screwed up seventeen year old I was.
Forgive me if my thoughts are fragmented. Perhaps I have more in common on with that student than I thought? Inspiration is found around every corner, in every song, in every drive, every walk, everywhere. Now where do I begin? Ooh look, a white feather!