Anyhoo, there I was, pounding the keyboard, eyes wild, spittle flying, tears falling as I randomly shouted, "Character arc!" or "Subplot!" or, "Anti-hero!" Then I went down the rabbit hole of, "There was something about beats. Not the headphones. Stories. Story beats. What was it? And wasn't there a cat? I know there was a cat. And a play. Wait! Was it a play about beating a cat with Beats? No. That isn't right..." Then it hit me and I shouted, "Beat the cat to fix the story!" right before the ASPCA showed up my door with the sheriff and...wait. I'm losing my grasp here. <shifty eyes> Let's move on with the knowledge my cats are fine. My mind, however, is on deadline.
So my inbox gives its little alarm ("Hey, psychotic author. Someone's trying to get your attention!") and, like any good ADD--SQUIRREL!--sufferer, I raced off to open it. And found this:
Sure, sure--I'm clearly on the ledge here and will likely topple off into the creative River of Doom, race over the Falls of Despair and end up in the deep Pool of Regret before washing up on the shores of Holy Crapola in the land of The Manuscript is Finally Done, but that doesn't detract from the message in this video. It was, and is, a message I needed (and will need) to hear.
See, writing is my art. It is my contribution to the world and, in many ways, a glimpse into the deepest inner workings of my heart and mind and self (I sort of--suddenly--feel sorry for my readers). It is my attempt to give readers a place to retreat from the world, a different world to get lost in, really. A place they can go to when the horizon is bearing down and life looms too large. A place where rainy afternoons and sleepless nights can be spent in good company. A place they can go to be emotionally nurtured, emerging from the pages a little less frazzled than when they dropped in. That is always my goal when I write--to create an escape for people--for that is exactly what my favorite authors do for me.
But there are times when, as an author, I feel a little like I have to corral my writing mind and wrangle it into socially acceptable submission. It bothers me when I consider re-molding it to better fit outside expectations. It bothers me that I would dare consider it. It bothers me that, in the past, I've tried so hard to conform in order to fit the mold available instead of staying true to myself and casting my own mold, one specific to my shifting shapes and variable preferences and love of the eclectic. A mold that is likely re-cast-able. One that is never quite in line with what the Jones's are doing. Let's face it, my peeps. I prefer to set the trends than follow them, and I can't keep up with the Kardashians because, frankly, fabricated drama just ain't my game. Authentic conflict? I write it. They can't even live it. Movin' on before I go all TMZ all over the place.
Thank you, David Bowie, for the reminder that my writing is worth more than a rudimentary mold designed to serve the masses. My art is a reflection of my innermost workings, the parts of me that make me unique. No single mold exists that will hold, let alone honor, my many-faceted components, those things that make me me. I'm a color-outside-the-lines-if-I-feel-like-it woman, wife, friend, daughter, sister and writer. And I have no need to apologize for the fact that there's no mold out there sufficient to create borders I'm willing to live within any more than there is a pattern that I'll willingly color with a fixed number of colors. I'm a use-every-color-in-the-box girl, and for the first time in far too long, I realize I'm good with that. No apology forthcoming.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to writing. I hear banjos in my mind's wilderness. From what I understand, that means paddle--or write--faster. TTFN, and that doesn't stand for Two Tacos for Nancy, folks. I'll be back!