I recently discovered the Shades of Crimson blog. And found Inspiration. The nine word challenge resonated and I was delighted to be published over there. Go Look. And I needed it. Writing is lonely and often difficult, but being published warms the cockles. It’s all too easy to forget the Joy. The Joy. In creating, in one’s work being discovered and then appreciated by strangers across the globe. It’s a special something. And it helps at the coal face, staring down a blank word doc.
So on that challenge I was asked to write 100 words. But also a bit about the writing process. And that’s another thing I grabbed and ran with.
But first about the challenge. Influences. I’d been reading about Fahrenheit 451 recently. So combining Arts Degree recollections of Biblical exegesis + dash of time travel and sci-fi + those nine words = 100 words. I know. It doesn’t explain it, but my brain was always going to come out with stuff different to everyone else because every single person has their own brain, full of their own experiences, recollections, knowledge and learnings. That’s the Wonder of it.
However, humans being what they are, always look for correspondences and patterns. We’re kinda crazy like that. Humans influence each other. So yes, there is the 451 reference and the Biblical Vulgate and St Timothy stuff.
I was thinking how would I feel reading something I had lived so close to. St Timothy (apparently) had met St Paul. Imagine him transported, reading a later version of events in the Vulgate. The importance of that book, the influence on the West (regardless of what you think about Christianity) is Huge. Imagine if it didn’t exist? There’s a lot of potential-story-energy in that 100 words.
Then there’s the subtle. I like cramming 25 ideas into 100 words. It appeals to my spirit of the perverse. I’m very perverse. I once wrote a banana-skin-falling-over-story because I was told to even attempt one would be pointless. Anywho…Under the Influence…
I also like books and stories about books.
I love Borges and Umberto Eco, two writers of a similar whimsy, love of books, language and kultcha, but such different approaches. Borges says I have an idea about a novel, so I’ll write a one page story about an imagined text in an impossible library, while Eco, bless, digests the entire impossible library and wraps it up between the pages of immense labrythiny mystery adventures. Both beautiful, both profound, entirely different writers. And both are impossible to imitate without coming out as a try-hard Lit-Wit. Or as Dan Brown…And I don’t want to imitate. I have my own voice, but I veer towards BIG idea SMALL space writing sometimes. But in other moods and when I have more space than 100 words, I want to be Edgar Allan Poe. All wordy atmosphere and not much else (sort of). And at the moment, writing about writing and about me writing I could go on and on…like Eco.
And I love Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. The transcendent moment in the Gates of Dawn chapter is authentic. Forget he’s writing about animals in clothes, he’s talking about a mystical-nature-being-experience. Oh to write one of those moments.
And then there’s pop culture. Film, TV, Music. Life. It’s all absorbed and mashed up and…
So, what I trying to say? I think writers should like reading, and be cultural sponges. But then Forget when they sit down at that coal face. When I’m in the middle of a 100 word story or a 3000 thing I don’t think about John Holton/Tim Winton/Conrad/Hemingway/Remarque/Sara Douglas/Borges/Lawrence/London/Tolkien/Malouf/Calvino or myriad others whose names elude me. I think of the Work or the Story, or the Character. Or sometimes, when the Flow is on, about nothing at all.