Saturday, July 31, 2010
Don't know much, but wait, yes I do.
The first time I read those words, I about panicked. What I know, I can hold in the palm of my hand. I'm a literal person. Abstract ideas are doable, but they're not the easiest things to eek out for me. So when I read, "Write what you know" you can imagine.
Here's what I know: Sunsets; how they make me feel. Burlap; how it feels next to my skin, the way the fibers overlap, it's thickness, the color. Talcum powder; deja vu, Johnson and Johnson, babies. The smell of popcorn, the sound of a train whistle in the distance. Where haven't I lived where I couldn't hear one somewhere. Rain; how it makes my hair go straight.
You get the picture. I know so, so much. Things you know have to do with your five senses and the images and feelings you get from them. Write those things, look into your heart, your memory, re-experience them, then put them on paper. So many times I forget and have to go back and add imagery. In fact, the first draft is usually void of such things. Just get the story on paper, right? But there are those things we know that come so natural that, even on the first draft, they flow onto the paper from memory. I'm talking like this is a new revelation. I know we all know this stuff, but we forget--I forget.
Sometimes I have to stop and close my eyes. When I'm writing a scene, I try and imagine the things around me. Getting out of an old, worn out car, for instance. The door probably sticks and squeaks--now that's a really old car. The musky, old smell that mingles with the fresh air for a single instant. The difference in attmosphere, like stepping from air conditioning to stifling, breath-eating swelter. Easy, right?
Not so much. How does it look, feel, smell, even taste? Of course, one can get carried away with this, I suppose.
That's my words of wisdom for the week. Hope you all have wonderful weekends. I'll shout at you again real soon. God bless.