Dreaming in words…

If reading was my first love, writing is my second. I have been writing since I was a teenager. Writing, undoubtedly, came as a result of my love of words but not everyone can write, right? I have always known that I could write. Just like I have always known that I suck at math. As far back as I can recall, I was an A+ English student. It was effortless, like breathing and throughly enjoyable. It has been, in turns for me, biographical and cathartic. I have used my pen to capture moments in my life and to expel and explain feelings that I can not explain to others.

I began with diaries, pouring my passion into them. They are prolific and torturous, if sporadic. I have dozens of books, you know the lined kind with funky covers, that have been around the world with me, recording my emotions, adventures and wayward thoughts. Yet, I can not say that I have ever written regularly. I have always been the kind of writer who writes in what I call a “white heat”. If I am moved, then I write. Everything else to me is drivel and forced. If its forced, it’s not pure, right? Wrong. It took a considerable amount of time to learn how to tap into the well of my creativity and thereby “force” myself to write.

In my teens, I became convinced that I was a left-brain thinker, intuitive, emotional, articulate, visual, linguistic and verbal. I embraced this side of myself as it felt natural to me. Math, natural? I think not. So entrenched in this definition of self was I that I reviled subjects like Science and ran from them like the plague lol. It took a long time to “think” myself out of this mind-set which I realized with time was very self-limiting.

In time,  I discovered the poet who lived inside me and pretty much abandoned regular diary writing for the poetic. Even now, I can pick up a poem and recall who or what inspired the idea and emotion. So, my poetry is a freeze-frame of where I was at a particular moment in time and what moved me. I agonized over the fact that I was born in the wrong time. I wanted to be in France, on the left bank, sitting in a cafe, high on the artistry of like-minded folks to whom art was everything. I wanted to be a starving artist and live for my work but I was hijacked by technology, bills and the basic necessities. 

Even so, a true love can not be quenched and in my twenties a shift occurred and writing became necessary to me. If I went anywhere without a pen and pad I felt naked. My thoughts became “fluid”. I mean this to say that phrases, sentences, lines of prose and alliteration would shoot through my brain at odd moments. I was captivated by my ability to create and a deluge came pouring out which I am in awe of to this day. Any person, passionate about their art, will relate to this.

Yet, I shared my writing with very few people because in it, I am naked. My nakedness, or self-consciousness, was reserved for the select. I was not open to exposure or criticism. My reserve, if I am honest, was also caused by lack of confidence. I can write but could I write?  That is, do it professionally, for a living? I was lucky enough to have friends who were also of the artistic bent so they encouraged me.  I overcame my reserve enough to stick my toe in the water and cast a few poems out in the world. One piece, Iridescent Memories, was published. Yet another, Drawn, was accepted by an editor who liked the concept but chastised me for “over-used” phrases and requested that I edit it. I was horrified lol. I thought editing would ruin its authenticity and that once I had written something the original feeling could never be recaptured so it was a pointless exercise. Hmmmph. It’s silly, I know, but I didn’t know better and more importantly, I lacked that skill.

The rejection, or so I felt, was like a Stop sign. So, I allowed myself to be silenced. I blamed the editor, you see. I now know that it was not her, but I, who was guilty of silencing my dream. Interestingly enough, I credit her criticism as the impetus for me to do more than record feelings but to refine and examine them. Her criticism improved my work although it took a long time to see it. 

Although I withdrew, I did not quit. Silently, I moved onto short stories and Erotica. Silently, I began the art of examination and analysis of other works which is, I feel, necessary to master your art. I have vacillated constantly, wondering what to write. Romance? Erotica? Fiction? Should I only write about what I know in order to give the work authenticity? Could I be one of those prodigious writers like Anne Rice who does considerable research which she incorporates into her work? Where to begin? I have rejected a multitude of ideas because they are not new. I was consumed wondering what I could contribute that others have not written about. All of this delayed me.

It took a considerable amount of analysis to realize that there really are very few new ideas under the sun. Listening to artists, reading prologues and epilogues, watching movies, interviews with cinematographers, screen writers and devouring articles about writing I discerned a pattern. There is nothing new under the sun. Most ideas, at their base, are common and it is only the individual perspective which the artist brings that differentiates the expression and form. More so, ideas, spawn other ideas and so on. I finally resolved that it was only necessary to start. It is important to me that whatever I write touches the hearts and souls of others. To convey relatable, resonating stories which inform or inspires others is a worthy goal. Or, merely expose that which has not been exposed in print which is definitely a more lofty goal. Ha! So, I guess the right side of my brain works after all lol.

It is only this year, through constant practice, that I have finally found my Voice. It was elusive and I chased it but now it is so loud that it can not be silenced. 🙂 So, now I have the confidence required to share my work with others and have begun working on my first novel. It is a metamorphosis thirty years in the making but what can I say?  When you are ready, you are ready.

One of the main reasons that I love my blog is that it incites me to write everyday and forces me to delve into my well of memory, impressions, life lessons and creativity. This is my dream and I will not be silenced…

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4 thoughts on “Dreaming in words…”

  1. Coco, I’m so happy that you found your “voice” and it’s showing us the way! Years back, I sent my oldest daughter off to study art at college with the following quote:

    “Originality: Don’t worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you
    wanted to. It will stick to you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or
    anyone else can do. ” ~robert henri

    And then I told her, “just because you’re going away to college doesn’t mean you no longer have to listen to your mama. So let me make myself very clear. You must promise yourself to do some kind of art everyday, if you love art, even after you graduate. Now, scoot!” (she listened.)

    Coco, your voice is coming in loud and clear! 🙂 Thanks! Red

    1. Hi Red,

      Happy to see you hear because I love feedback. You delving into my blog is forcing me to look back at previous entries and I appreciate that. I needed to read this TODAY.

      The advice you gave her is priceless and I am sure she appreciates her mama. Hopefully, she isn’t like most kids, and we are always kids to our parents no matter what we say, and lets you know that on a regular basis. It’s so much easier to blossom when you have support. 🙂

  2. To quote W.H. Auden:

    “Some writers confuse authenticity, which they always ought to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”

    There is nothing new under the sun. All we can do is tell our story as honestly as we are capable of capturing.

    1. Hmmm, now why had I not heard this before? Think of all the angst and self-examination I coud’ve spared myself lol. Oh well, those truths which are hard won are the most meaningful…or some such drivel. 😉

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