Thursday, July 13, 2006

Interview at 52 Projects

Jeffrey Yamaguchi and I sat down at our respective keyboards and had a cyber conversation. This interview at 52 Projects was the outcome. Check it out during this summer lull.

That's not to say that writing isn't difficult. It certainly is. But I want to instill in my students the idea of 'play' in writing. The idea, quite frankly, of fun. That when you sit down with your characters or verses or screenwriting software, whatever, that there's a sense of play there. A sense that something really interesting is going to happen, not just on the page, but actually within the writer. You've got to keep that sense of play, and that sense of discovery, otherwise you begin to see your writing as your enemy, and that's poison for a writer.

I'm not even sure if I'm right about all this, to be honest with you. But I believe it, and I want my students to believe it. I think the old way: the "bleeding from your forehead" way is unhelpful, especially for younger writers.

I guess my main point is: writing is about creating, and it's also about solving problems. And while the problems themselves may be unpleasant, the actual process of solving them is when we grow the most as writers. I think it's important to look at that process in a positive way. It's important to remember that sometimes the solving of problems is the most fun in the writing process. And often it produces the best writing.

2 comments:

austin said...

Oh, man I LOVE this quote!

This is really what I had to rediscover in my year after college...only, I had to look to comics folk like James Kochalka (who compares comics to video games) and Lynda Barry (who equates adult creative activity with play in children) to figure it out. (Do you know of any prose fiction writers who explicitely use this word "play"?)

i think the key to all this is making a writing workshop "a workshop": a PLAY area where you make up stories, which is something brian kitely talks a lot about in his book, the 3 a.m. epiphany

anyways, rock on, professor tom

LBellatrix said...

I just printed this quote out and posted it above my desk.

I just signed up to Blogger (after visiting God knows how many Blogger blogs) just so I could tell you how much I appreciate the wisdom on this site, of which that quote is only the latest.