Since we’ve been in Denver I have been pushing myself to write three nights a week for about four hours. Even if I can’t get anything really to come out of me I am working on outlines and character studies. I usually end up at the coffee shop down the street where I sit like so many others at their marble tables drinking coffee or tea and snacking on a cookie. But it’s been tough going, the words get stuck somewhere between my mind and my pen (yes I write long hand). This story that I am telling has been in my mind so long that I can see every scene like a film in my mind. I know what people say ans how they look when they say it; I can see ever minute detail of each space my characters inhabit. Yet when I transfer these ideas to paper they turn flat, more like a list of what should be written rather than an actual story. I’ve hit a wall, not quiet writers block, since I have all my ideas and I still sit and write, but my storytelling confidence has gone away.
But I really want to write this story, I have to tell it. It won’t let go of me and free me for my next project until I have exhausted it (and it me). It’s a hard to explain this, the story came to me in full in just a few moments of time. Not every scene was there but I knew where my protagonist starts out where they go and all the adventures that happen along the way. That was five years ago. Since then I written some, had a baby, lived in five houses, and done a lot of research. But the story won’t let go of me and it won’t let me bend it to my needs. Nope it wants to be recorded in it’s full insane glory. Yes I feel that this tale has been given to me, it is my responsibility to shape and express it into words and paragraphs, but it comes from the ether or the spirits or…..
So with this need to finish this project and a want to write I felt I needed a little outside support. So I called one of my old Denver writing friends to meet the other day. After two hours of talking about both of our projects, he soon to be fatherhood, my three year old, Hebrew names, graphic novels, Wendell Berry, science fiction, novels written at the beginning of the 20th century, writing workshops, the prairie, and a few other things we’ve decided to meet weekly to write. Not only to spend two or three hours writing once a week but also to push ourselves to produce really story-work for those meetings. What do you call that passion/homework? A kick in the rear? Either way it is what I need right now, external motivation and community for an act that I mainly do solitary. These are the steps that will lead me out of my slog and back into the flow of writing.