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On Writing: it's a strange art
In his 1984 essay collection, the writer of Lord of the Flies says:
it would seem that the act of creation is as strange to the writer as to his reader.
For William Golding, there is a mystery to the writing process that evades even the writer themselves. The ‘act of creation’ is hidden behind the veil of comprehension: unknowable and intimate; a synonym for god, who creates the written world without revealing his process or intention to we mere mortals who stalk the pages of its reality.
And I think I get it.
I have no idea how the content I consume affects the work I produce. I can trace similarities in form, structure or description, but the intuition pumps I used to decide whether or not to use that technique are hidden to me. They are there on the page, but they resurface at random; a product of hidden systems in the back of my mind that I can’t articulate or understand.
I don’t think it into existence; I feel it into being.
When it is right, it feels right. When it is wrong, it feels wrong.
That sounds fine. But it also sounds terrible.
Reliance on feelings is the same as reliance on ignorance: it might get us through the day but it’s not a good basis for effective growth.
William Golding was a teacher. And I am a teacher. And there is something that just doesn’t sit well with the idea of accepting ignorance — even welcoming it — as part of the creative process. I have to believe he felt the same way.
Humanity grows as it learns. Education lets us stand on the shoulders of giants because it teaches us how to climb. Understanding is anathema to the wrongs of this world.
Trusting our feelings about writing can’t be enough; we have to learn to understand them.
Welcome to my journey
That’s what I’m going to do here: I’m going to try and understand my process of writing better. It’s a path that others have trod before me and I plan to learn all I can from them to speed me along the way.
I don’t have a goal in mind; I have a journey.
Feel free to join me, guide me and grow along the way.
Let’s see what happens.
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