There is a lot of magic in the art of storytelling – the writer sits down, furrows his or her brow, and a world spills from their fingers. People emerge who’d never been there before, and begin to have adventures. It’s a mysterious, unfathomable Process that cannot be fully explained to mere mortals.
Or so writers would tell you.
Look, I’ve done a fair amount of writing in my time, and yes, sometimes you wake up and the faeries have sprinkled dust in your ears and lo, a story springs onto the page.
But most of the time I’m sitting down to the keys after eight hours of work, tired but ready, and today I’m going to fix the awkward dialogue in this scene, and rework the characterization so that Penelope The Heroine doesn’t come off like a complete idiot. Most days I write not because my head is buzzing like a beehive with Ideas, but because I’m 3,500 words in and one more scene means I can call it a day. (via)
He has a point.
Most writing involves doing the same thing day after day – one scoots their chair up to the computer; sits down to the typewriter; leans back (feet up) with a pencil & legal pad-journal-Big Chief tablet-scraps of paper on their lap…and begins to write. And, yes, ideally this happens every day.
But I will also quibble and say, yes – there indeed is some magic to the process. 1
Why else bother?
- Though that whole gettin’ laid because one was ‘a writer’ gambit worked well only while at university. And that had more to do with 18-21 year old girls far from home… Nah, it was the magical prose. Always worked for Norman, right? Although…remember, after that Saturday gig at NAROPA, you remember? Where Mailer spent his allotted 30 minutes reading the remarkably graphic battle scene that involved a massive orgy of male on male forced sex, fuck it, ass rape, buggery, from Ancient Evenings? Norman left alone and quite early that evening despite his standing the massive lobby afterward and leering down icy sorority queens (probably there as ‘charity’ work and almost certainly there as homework) drifted across the massive flatirons instead of partying in Nederland, said beauties who outright refused him -much to his obvious bewilderment; wasn’t this after all the high country, the infamous free-spirited Boulder?- the pleasure, either singly or collectively, of their narrow passages. He was on his 5th (or perhaps 6th and last) wife then though she of course wasn’t there. One suspects the coeds not refusal, but indifference to Mailer -as though he were a Martian guised in a particularly clever, humanlike skein that had forgotten his Universal Translator and was thus spewing the Martian equivalent of blah blah blah at the pretties- confused him: this was water and he the mighty white shark – what the fuck?, over. One also suspects that while Mailer’s mind raged his corpus, at the deepest cellular level, was wildly relieved: Oh Thank Jesus we don’t have to gear up for that tiresome frolic again; appearances must be maintained, yes, and don’t misunderstand us, Engineering and Plumbing are certainly willing, able and excited, yes, E X C I TE D to perform to task(s) at hand, it’s just, well, they need a bit of a furlough, don’t you see? Christ, there’s a fate, eh? Forever lanced by your own… Well, who would want that? It’s enough to cause one to bend an arthritic knee in thanks to whatever migrating space seed drifted out of the void and into the muck of this world for blessing upon one mediocre at best talent. Such tsouris one doesn’t need, nu? ↩