Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Like Beethoven composing deaf....

Hey, did you all know I want to be a writer?

Yup, I sure do.

I went to school for it and everything, and every once in a while I sit down with an idea and put pen to paper and start working. And it feels good. It feels comforting and complete, and correct. This is what I should be doing - I fought it for a long time and am finally resigned to the fact that this is my calling, my vocation, my purpose. But it does not pay the bills, for now, so I usually do it in between shooting cats with insulin, sifting through cat litter, and trying to scoop doggie diarrhea off the sidewalk. Which I also love. Of all the jobs in all the world that I could have to pay the bills while my creative juices be a percolatin', I would not choose another.

Anyway, one of the things that stalls my writing is the following. I will get a great idea, that I am so into and so committed to and I start working it out and writing. Then I will start reading a book. And that book has a similar premise. Not the same, I am not plagiarizing via ESP, but very close. And then all my ideas seem not so fresh. Not so great.

Case in point:

As my Advanced Prose project, where we began working on a novel, I wrote about a girl who died, but was able to watch and connect with her earthbound family members and loved ones. I was really into the idea, the characters, got great feedback, it was really quite lovely. Then I graduated, and set it aside, and wasn't sure if I would come back to it. And recently I've been thinking about it again.

Until I started reading The Lovely Bones. Which is about a girl who dies, and how she is relating to her grieving family.

I'm sure that no idea is really truly fresh. And if it is fresh, it may be experimental, and I am so not experimental. So I'm sure I will always come across ideas that are similar to mine. But I just don't like to be confronted with the similarities as I'm working on the project. It makes me question everything that I add to the project from there on out.

So, to write, do I need to avoid reading?

1 comment:

Jenn said...

My two cents..

No, if anything, read more. There's nothing new under the sun, after all. But it's not about writing something new, it's about writing something well.

Even the most simplest premise can turn into a best-selling book, if it's written well.

If it wasn't for 'sampling' other people's work, we wouldn't have the best song known to man.

That's right. I'm talking about Ice, Ice, Baby.