Sunday, February 19, 2006

Scoring, the Surface and Fatigue

I'm grading tests right now. I score a certain "not to be named" college placement test to help support my writing business. It does help, but it strips the creativity out of me. I'm supposed to have all this power and freshness after I've put in a full day's work.

Enough whining, I'd like to muse for a minute. I'm looking at the surface of writing right now. I lean toward the onion theory of story. Stories are layers. You keep adding layer after layer of character, plot, setting and then you have a book. Here's something weird to me; I don't really keep my eye on the depths of the novel -- theme, imagery, voice. My writing is about the details and that is where I find the saying "God is in the details" really working for me. I think of this like Michelangelo's work. He's got this piece of marble and he knows that David is inside it. He begins to sculpt and eventually the thing he saw in the beginning appears. I wonder if he really saw the finished project in the beginning. I see a mess of evocative, unconnected ideas. For me, in the beginning, story bubbles forth as a glorious muddled confusion, and then over time, it starts to have a definite shape. Later, toward the end is the deep magic, like when the Secret Garden starts to do its thing. And then finally I reach revelation. It is here that I realize the limitation of story; it's finite boundaries. A story is a surface, simple like a ball or complex like a coastline. We humans are the one's that set boundaries. We write beginnings and ends. There is artifice to this. The good writer tries to leave the doors cracked open a bit. There are really no beginnings and no ends. I love it when a writer makes me believe that this character went on and lived a "happily ever after" life or at least an interesting life. It's a joy to create a surface.

I working very hard right now and I'm feeling conflict between the creative process with every day life.

Trifles go to make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Italian architect, painter, & sculptor (1475 - 1564)


Joy said...

Hi Molly,

I came across your blog for the very first time when Jan Fields mentioned it in her weekly email for the Institute. I love it. Your blog that is....

I just started blogging and would love to get some feedback on my blog, my writing and any pointers you can share! Please Check me out?

Jeff said...

I just checked out your blog and loved it. My blog pales in your shadow.