Journals

Do you keep a journal?

At one time I kept a journal that I wrote all my feelings in, dreams, strange ideas, thoughts, opened myself up and let it all flow…

…then someone I trusted read it…and got very angry with me because of the words I had written. So I deleted everything from my computer, I burned the notebook, and I made a resolution:  NEVER KEEP A JOURNAL AGAIN!

But,

over the years, the need to get some fuzzy stuff down, to jot story ideas, excerpts of fiction or poetry that feed my soul, notes on what I saw that day, or people I witnessed being people, human’s who carried a story around with them, one I could imagine if I took the time and let my mind run, run, run….so journaling has become part of my life again for the past few years. I do not use it to express inner feelings, disenchantments with every-day life or any of the like, except if it has to do with writing my novel or my short stories.

The journal has become more of an expression that keeps the momentum of writing going, no matter what my frame of mind might be. I hate my story, I love my story, it doesn’t matter, this will help me get by. For a few weeks I’ve let it slip by, not adding to the blank pages anything but my hollow stares. And my novel writing had slowed down to a decrepit pace, of like zero to none words a day with only one or two passing thoughts added. But I picked it up this weekend with new resolve. It feels heavy and real, the journal itself, which makes me feel like the words I’ve hand-written within have some weight that will make a difference somewhere…or maybe none at all. And it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I let some personal stuff slip in, the stuff I know no one will hate me for after I’ve gone and they take this black book out and decide to look into me. Like this morning’s entry which went something like this:

July 18.2012

Could not sleep during the night, partly because of the heat (even though the air was on) and partly because I just wasn’t tired. My mind wasn’t racing, my legs felt fine (sometimes they itch or twitch) so I’m not sure what it was, but I got up around 1 am or so and came downstairs and read and wrote into my novel manuscript. I feel I may have focus now. My daughter, words of wisdom from a 16-year-old, said to me last night, “Why don’t you finish that story? Don’t give up on it, it’s really good.” (She’d read my first draft in progress a few months ago). “Even if you get another job, you could do both.”

And so I can.

Feel a bit more inspired to dig into blogs again too, especially Disenchanted Twilight, which I sometimes feel I should rename, though disenchantment is part of me, so perhaps it is fine.

~End of entry

If you keep a journal, what do you put into it? Feel free to share.

image: Disenchanted Twilight

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Beautiful words by Lisa Chapman…

Just Under the Surface

The hour is late between us

Darkness intrudes

Our light obscured by our own shadows

Flashes of memory crave the light

Restore! Restore!

We swim for shoreline

Only to be shoved further out to sea

We made our start amongst the brilliance of stars

Believing our love built on solid ground.

Only to discover it was upon sinking sand.

~Lisa Chapman 2012

Inspired by: Disenchanted Twilight post
Photograph: Flickr/Symmetry Mind

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Writing the Duomatic Monologue

Okay, so I absolutely don’t know what the title has to do with this post…but I found it in my journal, and hell, I kind of like it, must have liked it, since it’s written in my beautiful handwriting back in May of last year. And during the writing of this, I hear this:

So, my point is that I’m in this really cool writing groove. We all get in one occasionally, hopefully often, or constantly. I wish I could take more time for this blog too. It’s becoming hard to find the time, which is a good thing, I guess.  But today I’d just want to express what it’s like to be in the groove, that dynamic place where all the words come into our heads and fall through our fingertips and onto the paper (or computer screen) like ethereal dictation.

And there’s that synch that happens also. You know the one. You come across all this stuff that reminds you of your story, or your character, or the setting of your novel. Or you come across a piece in a book, like I did today:

You see I have been here a long time now
And though the work I came for was years ago finished
It is an easy country to stay on in

I have got used to the way of certain things here.
They can be absurdly irritating at times
But I get on quite well, really quite well with the people.
And then, they take you for granted. And there’s the sun
And the night air in Summer. There are the Southern roses.
I am at ease in these frequented ruins
And here at least i have my place as exile.

[From Man in a Bar by Jenny Joseph]

So here is something: we open a book and discover, a pieces so appropriate for our eyes to witness, slipping into our thoughts, our writing.  Our story. Maybe that’s my duomatic monologue.

 

More Disenchanted Literary Terms

IVORY TOWER –

To be in an ivory tower is to be remote from the world, out of touch with reality, and probably devitalized. (Devitalized? okayyyy….) This term is often a connotation to writers or artists. A fall from your ivory tower? I feel doomed. Click here for help.

INVOCATION –

A bit lighter here: An invocation is an appeal or request for help to a higher authority or to God.

NOM DE PLUME –

A nom de plume is French for “Pen-Name”. This is a fictitious name used by a writer. NOM DE GUERRE is the French term for an author’s pen name. Another useful word: pseudonym.

Why do I write?

I freaking ask myself this all the time. One time I quit, long ago, my kids were little…it actually felt great.

Of course, it didn’t last…this writing bug grabs you in unique and unexpected ways, it slathers your soul and you brain with ideas that just keep coming, then if you’re crazy enough, you mention this to a loved one and they actually say: That would make such a good story.

So there you go…you’re off again.

I love when the groove of writing is found…not the rut, mind you, but the slickest groove that’s covered in oil and you can just barely hear the hum of the creativity train’s wheels, just slightly, and it’s oh, so soothing…I love it when everything flows. Story. Words. Characters. Descriptions.

I hate it when I look back and see how “less-than” it really was. I try not to compare. I try, like Kerouac, to make it all perfect the first time around or why bother, but I can’t.
Who can really?
Except Jack Kerouac.
Was it he who said that? That a writer shouldn’t need to rewrite, that the original inspiration was all there should ever be. I think it was.

Hold on, like Nora Ephron I’ll have to Google it…be right back…

Bloody hell, I couldn’t find that quote, but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere, that he said that. If he did, he sucks.

So, why do I write? If you’re a writer, why do you? Is it some sort of inner self talk, or story, or whatever, that needs to burst out? Do we really need others’ approvals? Do you read a book, any good book, and say to yourself, I have a story something like this, I have to write it? Do you lay awake thinking of that little piece of something new to add to your character? Do you find yourself jotting notes down in the oddest of places, like the paper coffee cup you just drank from, because you just might forget before you get back to your desk or computer?

Are you someone like me who would rather do nothing else as a job?

Then we are the same my dear reader.

Deceptive Words

A great writer needs a great vocabulary. Do we ever really stop learning new words? Do we want to?

Here’s a few deceptive words to consider to add duplicity to the guile in your writing.

artifice – a skillful, sly or artful trick

cozen – to fraud, trick, cheat, or deceive

dissimulate – to hide one’s feelings, or to lie.

demagoguery – speech of a leader that appeals to people’s emotions, and therefore gains power.

imposture – to assume a false identity

panderer – caters to lower tastes of others and exploits weaknesses.

duplicity – deliberate deception in behavior or speech.

guile – insidiousness, treacherousness, cunning.

You Do Not even have to leave your room…

“You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.  Do not even listen, simply wait.  Do not even wait, be still and solitary.  The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”  ~Franz Kafka

 

Okay….I’m still waiting….what is happening?  The heat has turned on and the plant is in the warm stream of air and is moving back and forth and I’m thinking, I should move that plant, it may be too hot for it in that spot.

And so I sit.  It’s not like I don’t have any writing projects to work on. I have three going right now, which may be why I sit here. Too many things pulling me around, scattering my focus.  I believe when we write we have to become part of the story. We have to live, eat and breath as one or all the characters we’ve created do. With this focus comes and unending stream of scenes that we can sit and witness, and with some creative luck get those images down on paper with just the right, most publishable words that will send readers into another world that they’ll never want to leave.

It’s not easy of course. Often we sit and try over and over again. Some days I write all nonsense. I look at it the next day and think, what the fuck was I thinking yesterday.  Other days, I look at what I’ve written and think it’s brilliant. (Okay, maybe not brilliant, brilliant, but that sort-of kinda almost brilliant that my favorite writers have).  Still, the main thing, is that we have to set the time down and try, no, do the writing and what will come of it is a moment of brilliant. Without doing it regularly, well, the slump sets in.

As Sophy Burnham says: “When I am happiest, I write every almost every day.”

Me too.