In a bit of synchronicity, The Chronicle has a piece on peer editing tactics, and why peer editing sometimes fails, which is disgustingly apropos to my hurt feelings yesterday.

Getting back on the horse that threw me--pounding out 750 words really did help, as did the journal, and I ended up getting maybe 2000-odd words of prose out with few if any hurt feelings. One part of that was genuinely inspired and new (my best ideas come to me in the bathtub). So there's that, I guess.

I was thinking about my weird neuroses about writing while I was running IP yesterday. I'm very weak on the Self point, and indeed I think that's the issue here--I let my ideas get wrapped up too easily with the essence of me (whatever that is--still working on it). The idea of Self strikes me as very much connected with discernment and the ability to draw boundaries more generally, not just between Self and not-Self. To draw boundaries between:

me and my ideas,
the ideas and the text,
me and the text,
one idea and another idea,

--these are good, healthy things, and things to cultivate. (Perfect separation isn't desirable, of course--I am colored by my ideas, and they are colored with my essence and my mind--but I'm so far away from that issue right now that worrying about that at this stage in the work is pretty much laughable.)

I foresee a whole lot of banishing, kala, and the like in my future.
Writing is my primary craft at this point. (I hesitate to call it an art; that implies a level of depth that I lack.) There are other things I do--I knit, I string beads, I brew, I'm thinking about picking up book-binding and candle-pouring--but this is one thing that I at least try to make some time for every day. I would not call myself a writer, even though there is stuff out there, on the internet, that I have written, and you could read it, and you might even think it is halfway good, inasmuch as it is better than a lot of the stuff out there.

Writing fiction is unlike any other craft, I think, though there are ones that come close. It is story, and it is easy to get caught up in story. Writing eats you, I think, like few other things do. It's easy to get obsessed.

I find--and this is my primary frustration this morning--that it is immensely hard for me to separate from my creative endeavors when it comes to writing, and I attribute that to the immersiveness of writing as a craft.

Basically, I get caught up in big ideas. I always have, ever since I was little. Big ideas feel really shiny and attractive to me, and a lot of times I play with them in my head and they stop making sense anymore, but then I put them down on paper and I think I confuse and alienate people.

Do you write? If you are acquainted with the seductiveness of big, "important", symbolic ideas, how do you disentangle them from what you write, so that it's a story about "real" people doing "real" things (i.e., ones with heart and real motivation) rather than some crazy allegory, especially if you're attempting a genre like magical realism? When the big ideas invariably fall flat--whether for reason of the ultimate crappiness of the idea, or your inability to execute it properly--how do you pick up the pieces and keep on writing, especially when you are emotionally caught up? How do you disentangle the failed big idea from the rest of what you plan to write?

These are questions I have to answer, and I always appreciate input. I have a lot of psychospiritual tools I can use, but like all psychospiritual tools they're slow-working. And if I'm hurting a lot of times I either don't remember to use them, or I remember and it seems like a bad idea on some level--as though it seems disingenuous to try to magic myself so I'm okay again, when I know and really believe that deep down I'm inadequate, or producing crap.

(Well, the answers to these questions are probably inevitably slow-working, too. Emotions work slow. This is a good thing to remember.)



July 2010

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