Writing as a cathartic experience

I’m taking a pause from working on my current novella as I’m still having the problem of feeling “driven”. That is all this time(I’m currently on leave from my job) and I need to get as much done on it as possible while I can. It’s not that there aren’t “good” reasons for this–my leave ends at the end of June, and I won’t be returning to my present position. That means finding another job and also a major move. And I do have applications out there–this morning I got my first interview–so there’s a lot going on that I can obsess about. And part of the idea about my writing is…that’s one thing I enjoy, the one thing I can have fun with…

But it’s easy for me to lose sight of the reasons I’m writing when I focus on getting the “finished product” out there–i.e. as a second novella on Kindle. For me, one the ideas of the genre I’ve decided to work with is that it’s a way that I can process what’s going on in my life in a fun creative even healing way. Travelling between the work world of the protagonist and her fantasy world allows me to explore issues that come up in my own work life. Not that what I come up with is what I always want to hear. A comment that my writing consultant made about my current protagonist, Connie–made me consider: was I really that way? And I have to own–yes, I was; and then look at my part in what was going on. But that’s good, too. It’s all part of the healing.

Recently, though I’ve been trying to “streamline” the process. That is, leave out a character that I feel the need to keep in and write about because it “makes sense” story wise to integrate her into another character. I realize that I need to “chill out”, keep her in at present, and let myself be more creative/intuitive about the whole process. The novella will get done when it gets done.
Meanwhile I want to enjoy the process, and let it carry me, not attempt to control it.

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

Cultivating the whimsical …

It’s been awhile since I blogged. Ironically, now that I’m on leave from my “day job” I find myself blogging less, not more. That could be because I am looking for another position which I do find stressful. I don’t like not knowing where I will be even living in a few months time…and it’s not as if I don’t have options. I have had some “bites” which could result in some interviews; and if nothing happens right away, I can always make arrangements for the summer months, and decide where to go from here. I love the idea that the Chinese character for crisis his made up of danger and opportunity. I can so easily focus on what I perceive to be the danger, and not experience excitement, even anticipation about where this could lead. I know I’m never going to be the same after this–and I believe– the change will be for the better…

Which of course fits in very well in my fiction writing…The idea that the protagonist, Connie, can get so mired down in fear (discovering how rigid she is when she is); and discovering what she needs to learn from one or more of her fantasy characters is that sense of adventure, of stepping out into the unknown to see where it will lead. The opportunity side of crisis.

Of course, I find that can be easier said than done. Right now I find that I can even do my writing being driven (by fear). That is, now I have all this time surely I “should” get as much of my novella done as possible. So I push myself and my writing process to try to “get it done.”

Now I realize how important it is to actually write. I’ve always been able to come up with all sorts of creative story ideas–I love the process. And I realize that to put flesh and bone on the story–to make it, and the characters, come alive requires detailed work It’s not the whimsical part of the process–it’s the “getting down to it” part of the process and for me that’s definitely work. And it does have its payoff. I’m meeting with my writing consultant at noon today, and I have a nice piece of work to go over…and I’m excited about…

But still, part of me is frustrated. I want to cultivate whimsical and creative in my writing as well. And certainly there are times in writing my novella that I experience the whimsical…and that isn’t enough…I want to give myself permission to get away from my “serious writing”…and just–go with flow, have some fun…

I’m surprised at how structured I am and how hard that is for me to do…

Just some thoughts. Thanks for reading.

M.C. Piper

The first day of the rest of my life…and where to start…

April 1…I’m now officially out of my “day job” with three months paid leave. The closest to severance pay the organization I work for would ever give; and certainly not something I ever  imagined would ever happen.

I feel adrift, though I dutifully have taken my aging car (“Goldie”; she appears in  “Passionate Hero” ) in for a major service, managing I guess to put one foot in front of another in a sensible matter. I’m also looking to this period as a gift for my writing. I certainly will have to look for another job (and any new job for me involves a  major move); and I also need to do something fun, something to remind me that there’s more to life than my present work dilemma… And this morning, I’m struggling with a writing dilemma: what I feel I “should” be writing and what I want to write. As those who follow my blog know,  in my writing, I go back and forth between a fantasy world and the “real” world of the protagonist, in order to explore themes that come up in my own life.  It’s a fun creative way for me to explore these themes; and I hope those who read the stories will enjoy  them, and be able to relate what’s going on.

My writing  dilemma today is that I believe I “should” continue on the story in sequence, and the themes that keep coming up are definitely out of sequence. Not that I haven’t done writing that’s out of sequence.  I have a great writing consultant, Julie Rodriguez, who encourages me to write whatever comes. I just completed a scene where the protagonist Connie realizes that she’s like her fantasy hero, Xavier, in her “inability” to compromise; except that she’s more indirect, something that has consequences she doesn’t necessarily want so see This scene would come near the end of the story, as it  happens after Xavier has ventured into Connie’s world; and is part of  the story’s resolution.  It certainly was  important for me to write it when it comes to me. And I realize where I am at –in the actual story–is nowhere near that: Connie is still in Xavier’s world, as a way of trying to escape from the stress of her job.

Now it’s true that the “theme” I’m struggling with today–grief about leaving a situation that clearly wasn’t working, almost preferring that over the uncertainty of not knowing, not having something to cling to–does have something to do with the next section of the novella.  After all, Connie is trying to escape from her job through the fantasy; she’s not prepared to admit: maybe it’s not working, and  she needs  to take steps to get out of here.  And  her fantasy world is also becoming rather complicated.

Xavier is about to champion her cause–a claim to some ancestral lands–which  she’s not even sure she’s comfortable with, seeing the land as really belonging to the people who’ve lived on it for generations. And then there’s the other people in the situation: beginning with the aging  King Leopold, who sees himself as gracious and fair; but who leaves the details of granting Connie’s request, to his son, Prince Rainier.  Rainier wants to add Connie’s land to his, in order to keep up his family position,  and to provide for the upkeep of the court, etc.  The other character in the scene is Princess Madelyn, once the beloved of Xavier who later  disappointed him by marrying for money and prestige, as her family desired.  More diplomatic than Rainier, she’s concerned about things appearing just and fair; but in the end, what needs to be done–in order  for herself and her family to flourish–is what she’ll do. She also has a fondness for Xavier and enjoys teasing him about “what could have been.”  And to  Connie’s frustration, Xavier buys into it.       

Certainly, a lot of what’s going on here does fall into the category of : “maintaining what we have”, regardless of what it may cost others, or, in the end, ourselves. The alternative isn’t even considered…which is something I can really relate to at this point in my life..

Just some thoughts

 

M.C. Piper