Poetry, it’s said, has a definition aside from the conventional one: “That which cannot be translated.” Fiction, I believe, has a similar definition: “That which should not be explained and should speak for itself.”
I can’t write poetry. I’ve written lyrics in the past (mostly in college because I can’t sing and can only play the drums, and not well), but nothing really ever came of them except for one of them getting published in a really long poetry journal that never sold.
I’m one of those people who’s really good at making stuff up. There are all these ideas that float around in my head, most of which will never see the light. That’s probably a good thing, because very few of them are actually original.
Creativity is hard. Some of the greatest storytellers in history (Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck) and recent times (Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Jim Harrison) were able to crank out masterpieces in literally weeks. It’s taken me years to finish a story. And after it was done, I read it and I decide it sucks. I think this defines me as my own best enemy.
But at the same time, some of my best moments happened while seated in front of the screen, developing characters and then giving them control over their own circumstances. I’m just the guy who documents what they do. Creating these people and these worlds kept me sane. Stable. Happy.
I’m none of these things lately, and this has to change.
It’s time to try again. Instead of a new idea or a new character, I’m revisiting an old idea. In fact, my first. I’m rewriting it, and this time, I’m doing it my way.
Some writers say each character is a small part of himself. For me, this man I’m about to engross myself in again isn’t a small part. He’s the best parts of me. And the only way I’ll remember these parts of myself is to manifest them in someone else, even if he isn’t real. Though to me, he’s as real as anyone I know.