Thursday, April 16, 2009
You are not the poem
In her book, "Writing Down the Bones", Natalie Goldberg has a chapter dedicated to convincing a poet that he is not the poem itself, but rather only the emotions he was feeling at the moment he wrote the poem. I think Goldberg should be telling this to the readers, as they are the ones having problems differentiating between the writer and the writing. It is odd that with every second person out there being a writer, few of us personally know one. Perhaps therein lies the problem. Virtually every person I know reads books, but the vast majority of those people don't know any other writers besides me (and yes, I do dare to call myself a writer). As a result, and it's especially the people who know me well, they constantly assume that my writing tells some kind of a story about me. Each person looks for himself within my characters. This is not only untrue and frustrating, but it is inhibiting my writing. I am trying to come up with narrators that are as far from the real me as possible, so that the readers will actually look at what I'm trying to say, rather than attempt to learn something about me, or even worse, about themselves. Here is my final explanation and plea.
The writing that you find on this blog has several purposes. One is to potentially develop a character or play with a character type. Another is to experiment with different writing styles and tools. A third purpose is to create different voices and to simply convey a mood. Sometimes you're not supposed to remember the details, but rather get a certain feeling from the piece overall. At no point, however, will you find a fiction piece that is trying to convey some hidden secret about me personally, or about you. In fact, what I'm trying to do is become someone else and try to feel what he/she is feeling.
Having said all that, of course no matter how hard I try, I cannot fully detach myself from me. So you will potentially find pieces of me, and perhaps you too, here and there. But please don't look for them, they are not there intentionally, and therefore serve no purpose in and of themselves. Just enjoy the work you find here (if enjoyable you find it). And if you want to learn more about me, just ask. But please let me be free in my writing.