Monday, May 7, 2012
The Art of Writing No. 32
The advantage of writing a blog is that you are not restricted by the logics of publication. Your various outpourings may overlap and reiterate what has gone before. Like much of writing it has a special capacity for helping you articulate what is an evanescence until it is put into words and becomes moored in your thought. When I was an academic we used the phrase, writing yourself into knowledge. The act of writing can be, therefore, a primary act of formulation.
One of the absolute pleasures of writing is finding that you have conversed with your unconscious and drawn into view a flame which had, until then, remained a trickling line of smoke indicating there was a fire somewhere. This fishing into the depth of self becomes easier over time as you learn to trust it. Like a sportsman or woman, at the height of his or her powers, who plays intuitively, beyond the intercession of thought, you are hardly aware of the substance in what you have written until you examine it later, as its first reader. It is then that you have to decide how authentic it is, how much is plagiarised or pure! The pinnacle of such experience is in writing poetry which, like music, tells its truths as a potent alchemy that is more than the mere words on the page. Meanings echo and ricochet away from it, ad infinitum. The more you work with your imagination, the more it comes up trumps. The result can be an insight akin to that delivered by ‘automatic writing’ or ‘stream of consciousness’, a kind of authorial therapy, but it can also be the route that takes you into exciting realms beyond the conformity of your previous work.
This process evidences itself most in the way you manage the themes that underlie your work. I have already discussed their place in your narratives. Finding a fresh way to express the complexity of these themes can result directly from the unusual metaphors and insights that erupt from your unconscious, unfettered by the shackles of logic. And this is also true of descriptions of places, people and events. Having no fixed sense of any of these and allowing the creative juices to bring them to the fore can produce the strikingly real and unusual. The plasticity of your brain can either be increased by the appeal to the imagination or decreased by a rigid approach to expressing exactly what you have pre-ordained.
I watched a programme last night about human survival in the icy wastes of the far north. An igloo was built. It was almost exactly how I described an igloo being built in Azimuth. Now, many of you would have googled the strategies for building these ice houses before writing. Fine. But then you have the problem of making what you have researched seem natural and part of the flow of the narrative. When I wrote it, I WAS there with my characters solving the problem of how to survive a terrible night and so it came out in the very portrayal of traits, place and dialogue. I hope I am not sounding too vain here, it is as dispassionate as I can make it and, as I have said before, you can check my introspective analysis by reading the relevant section in the third Book, The Final Journey.
Azimuth by Jack Sanger, the paperback trilogy from www.azimuthtrilogy.com
Azimuth as separate E-Books, The First Journey, The Second Journey, The Final Journey) from Kindle Amazon or as PDFs at www.azimuthtrilogy.com