Thursday, December 13, 2007

Musings on Writer's Block vol. 2

Here I am, come upon another freewrite. Struggling to write. It’s 8:58am, been up all night. I’ve written two short stories in the last 16 hours, that total about 9 pages between the two of them. I like the both of them. They both say very specific things about my experiences in Iraq. Unfortunately, that’s the problem. They’re both about Iraq. Neither is really fictional. Something more akin to embellished, refined, narrative-ized non-fiction…The problem is that this is a fiction class. I’m already worried about having to do some major rewriting to fictionalize them for my prof. But I’ve also written five Iraq stories total for this class. Only one is truly fictional. I used my emotions and put myself into a Dear John type situation and it turned out really well. Very cinematic. It’ll make a good short film whenever I’m able to cull enough resources for it…But that’s not helping me now.

I have one…last…story to write…before I can move on to working on a story for a different class!

I started writing a variation on the Thorn story that was beaten into a pulp in my Story & Animation class by two months of reiterations. This time I removed all of the magical elements and stripped it down to just the abstract visuals, replacing the magical thorn with shards of a broken mirror…and I couldn’t stomach it. Not the violence itself, but rather that there was no discovery in it. It felt like I was going through the motions. I knew exactly where the violence was going to end up, and what made me sick of it was that it was so senseless. I suppose that was part of the original point, but after having my nose rubbed in the filth of my own design for two months straight, I just didn’t have the heart to follow it through. That’s the thing. If I’d had the heart, if I’d felt like what I was writing was saying something worthwhile, or allowing a new discovery, rather than just depravity, I could have followed it through to its very bitter end. But not this time. I’m finished with that story. I’m ready to move on to illustrations and evocations of greater emotional complexity than a visceral, gut-wrenching reaction. I kept thinking about early Cronenberg and Lynch, and their films work on levels beyond the purely visceral. The visceral is reserved for shock horror, and that’s about it.

So. Do I continue to strip-mine my Iraq experiences? Or do I progress onto something more complex? More original?

On second thought, I may have found a way to get the fragmented story to work. If I make it a piece about heroism as deformative performance art. I think I can see it now. That was the problem. I couldn’t see it. Or what I saw wasn’t clicking. Now I see it. And it could be beautiful.

Ever see Perfume? Beautiful movie. My kind of movie.

1 comment:

Bronwyn said...

hey there... will get the video up sometime in the near future. i still haven't put anything up from last year either. but you can see the self indulgent shameless art student collaboration alice, roxie and i did. just posted that.

keep writing and have a swell break :)