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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Writer’s process…or how my mind controls its creativity, part III: The acceleration into madness.

(Sorry for the delay in getting this out–excuses don’t work anymore, so I won’t give any. Here I am just to spout off again, though, so enjoy.)

I create the story out of simple inspiration, and free write until it scares me that I won’t ever have a true plot point to follow. I decide to jot down an outline, loosely describing for myself the stages the story will progress through. So, what’s next?

I’ve spent a good deal of time to this point thinking of the purpose for the actions of characters, and envisioning them. I’ve become good friends with them: they yell at me often. Once I hit that prior stage of outlining, it’s impressed upon me that I need to finish this work, and so begins the manic writing phase.

With the guidance of the few notes I’ve jotted down, I write almost as freely as I did before, but pauses don’t exist. Deviations do not happen. It is almost like I am on a drug and I need to keep writing to keep the high moving. Unlike the initial writing phase, the “good” or “bad” writing actually matters to me as the story has become complex enough to need to make sense. I am usually up late at night, typing in darkness, listening to some inspirational music, reciting the words as they’re typed out on the screen. Sleep is secondary. My mind is consumed now with where my characters are going. Before, the visions inspired the text. Now, the text inspires the vision. The movie is in my head. The dialogue pops out, the voices are loud and clear, and I feel the adrenaline rush in this stage more than ever before.

I put so much energy into it. I want to talk about it, describe the feelings I am having, but people don’t get it. Part of me doesn’t blame them for this. Part of me does. The passion I pour into the story starts driving me. Nothing else matters. I see an end point that I need to reach, and I need to do it fast.

When I finally come to the conclusive point, I’m emotionally exhausted and sad. I do cry. I do reread the last few pages. I actually type: The End. I let the grief of letting go take over me, and I reluctantly close the document and stand up from the computer. My mind is still engaged in the world on the paper. I haven’t spent many hours away from it, and I miss it like one does an old home. My characters don’t speak to me now. They’re quiet. Not dead, just quiet. They’ve moved elsewhere for a moment, and the lonely feeling overcomes that manic high I was living on just moments before.

Because I’m me (and thus, never shut up and keep going and going and going…), despite the ending of one particular work, the story never ends. I love my characters so much that I know there are further stories to tell, and that I want to tell them. This is why I’ve rarely wrote a standalone work. It’s why I love movies that end up with sequels, and I tend to like spin-offs of tv shows. I enjoy the possibility of different stories, different perspectives, further interaction (even if different) with characters I’ve come to care about. And another part that makes me who I am is that my mind is apt to change, so often my motivation for keeping a story singular ends up with a trilogy simply because I shifted the storyline from one character to another.

Sometimes, I take a break between writing. Sometimes, eager to keep that high, I write for another week or two on a sequel (or prequel), and coast on being stuck in the world before it leaves me.  Often, though, I let it sit. I read. I let a bit of a mourning period go on, and then I start all over. Loving a new time period, engaging in the life of new characters, and spinning around some new ideas in this overactive brain of mine.

Heck, writing this may have confused you more than explaining my process, and perhaps it makes no sense. But, it follow the route I tend to take, and may explain the choices I’ve made in life and the paths I’ve taken as a writer.

 

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Posted by on 07/21/2014 in writing

 

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Gently, gently I go…a little poetic insight.

This is a poem I wrote 12 years ago. This was when I was extremely deep into writing poetry, and while not my best work, it is a great way to convey my mindset in this time of year. Titled: The Fourth.

The Fourth

© 2002, by Lauren L. Canfield, All Rights Reserved.
February 20, 2002.

Sunlight dances across the floor,
The wind blows my curtains
Gently toward my bed.
The sound of lawnmowers
Vrooming around yards
Reverberate in my ears
And the aroma of fresh cut grass floods my nostrils
As I turn over in my bed
And stare out the window.

I’ve never seen a sky so much that color.
So blue your eyes hurt.
The green, bright, vibrant.
The browns, yellows of the tall grasses.
The green, veined leaves of corn rustling
While in green, silk-laden beds,
The cobs lay maturing.
The purples, reds and pinks of flowers
Breaking the fifteen million shades of green
And the smell of lilac mingling
With the grass and the roses,
Peonies and lilies.
Dandelion puffs float by my window.

I stand up, stretch, dressed in shorts and shirt,
Rub my eyes,
Inhale.
Staggering, I make my way through
Short, dark hallways,
Into light-laden rooms.
At the stove, pasta is boiling.
On the table, red, yellow, and green
Peppers lay chopped
While onions and celery sit beside
Red tomatoes,
Greenish rimmed, milky-white cucumbers
And a jar of dressing wait.
I smile.

Open the door to it.
I do.
Inside, marinating
In a special sauce,
Is chicken.
I smell the vinegar
And close my eyes.
I can taste it now.

I return to throw on
Jean shorts, old tee
Some old sneakers, and maybe
A baseball cap.
Jumping down from the back door,
I hit a small path of pavement
Before reaching the soft, silky grass.
I almost wish to be barefoot,
But still see stalks of clover
And bees around.
Not safe for bare feet! I think
And walk to the shed.

Ah, the shed,
Home to a million diversions
For a country kid
Who excels at finding ways
To keep occupied.
Stepping up,
I locate, in the nearly empty shed,
A rake.
Doing my chores,
I finish the lawn in an hour.

Raking up cut grass
Can be dirty.
It stains.
It’s somewhat wet
From being mowed
Just after the dew evaporates.
It sticks.
I fling it to the cows,
Who, with the bulls, rush over.
My heart races;
I fear them breaking through.
They don’t.
Just munch on my gift.

The smell of cooking chicken hits me;
Just placed on the grill,
I have time.
Dragging my bike out of the shed,
I take off.
First, a mile down the road, turn around,
Over a small, wooden bridge next,
Then back.
Passing my house,
The sounds of my sister playing,
My dog barking,
My dad doing some odds and ends project,
Flood my mind,
But I soon forget to hear it.

Instead, I head to it.
Entering it, the tall maples,
Oaks, and numerous other trees
Create a soft, cool shade.
The sun breaks through in spots.
I make it to the first bridge.

A small man-made waterfall
From where they diverted the creek
Greets my eye.
As memory places me
Four years old,
Sitting on it as the water tumbled around
With my mom next to me.
I remember the freshwater crabs,
How they hid under rocks,
Then dared to snip at you when you neared.
I look across at the other side.

A well-known, well-worn path breaks through
To the creek side
I’m tempted to walk down
See if any crabs are left,
But, instead, I push on.
It becomes harder to bike,
As there are tiny hills here and there,
The second bridge comes into sight.
Much higher over the water,
No easy access down in,
It’s merely a marker.
Bored, I bike on,
Hit Bridge #3,
Two roads then diverge.

One, goes into a house, parked deep in
Hidden by a hillside.
The second leads nearly five more miles in.
The smell of dank woods hits me here.
I’m uncertain.
Should I go on, turn back?

I go on.

Road becomes narrower.
There are no guides on the side.
I might fall in, if spooked.
I keep going,
Forgetting time, responsibilities.
I love the cool arms of it.
It holds me, makes me feel at home,
I’m comfortable,
Confident,
Yet, frightened to wits end.

I turn around.
I think something’s up ahead.
I can never get to Monkey Circle.
I can never get beyond this point.
Staring over my shoulder,
Before I push off,
I shiver.
Something’s not right there.

I head home, all downhill.
The rush as I round curves,
Not bothering to brake,
My speed increasing.
I close my eyes on the straight-aways.
I open them just to turn,
And whiz past
The gorge I’ve climbed,
And slid down.
The water holes I swam in,
The waterfall where crabs nipped,
And by the tall trees shading
The entrance.

Bam!

Almost like a brick wall,
I hit the sunlight.
Easing on my brake, I coast by my yard,
Turn into my driveway.
As my mom carries the chicken inside.
She can see I’m happy,
Though I should be scolded for being
Away for so long.
She just smiles.

We eat.
The cleanup is done quickly.
The sun lowers in the sky, we set up the yard games,
Bring out the horseshoes and balls and gloves.

Our guest begin to arrive,
Bringing themselves
Maybe some chips or some soda.
Maybe a frozen treat.
Here comes Gramp,
Mysterious bag in hand.
I grin while the younger kids just stare
We take chairs to the front lawn.
The older people sit.
The kids run, chasing each other,
Water balloons flying all over.

I stare at the stars and inhale the night air.
Barefoot now, I lay back on the grass,
Still aromatic.
Closing my eyes, I move back in age,
Younger, chasing cousins and siblings with
Sparklers, dazzling the air with little bits of light.
Then, out came the big ones.
Parachute men, the wheel ones,
Some with big bangs,
Others silent as can be.
Gramp would bring them,
And we would jump for more.
When the woman across town would call,
The police came, but ignored it.
Nevertheless, we had hid them well.

Then, when they were done,
They’d pack up the cars,
We’d say goodbye.

I opened my eyes.
I heard a few talking above me,
I wiped a tear away,
Moved from the group,
Stared at the sky.

That fourth was different than
Others had been.

I can return to that town,
And I might smell fresh cut grass,
But it’s not our grass from our yard.

I might smell a barbecue,
But it is not our chicken.

The lilacs are purple and in bloom,
But they are not ours.

The road still leads to my wooden bridge,
But I have no bike to cross it.

The tall trees still stand,
The three bridges stand over the low creek,
The road still diverges.
They are mine.
They will always be mine.

And, no one will take my fourth away.

 

 
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Posted by on 07/18/2014 in family, weather, writing

 

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