I Am Not a Poet

I am not a poet.

I read in choppy snippets when my circus lets me. I don’t do justice to heavy, important books when I can’t dive into them, so the drug-store romance novellas are my escape when I have time. It isn’t Dostoevsky, or Atwood, but it is words. On a page Kindle.

Lately, as “busy-and-tired” becomes my perpetual state, I’ve gravitated further towards what I can digest in micro-bites. Poetry fits into the nooks and crannies of time I have before demands of the rest of my life take over. I sit down in the chair the poem makes for me, and live in its world for a moment, relishing the swirls and patterns the words dig out of my imagination.

Heady, but brief.

Sometimes I’ll try my hand at writing a poem. A phrase or a word will come to me and I write it down hastily in my journal, often times so scribbled I need a personal Rosetta Stone to decipher it.

This is not helped by bumpy bus rides.

I call them “Navel Lint”. They sound like first world problems met a TV drama and moped about in the rain with cold tea and no jacket. My untrained mind just barfs up a bunch of ^%&* where most properly blooded writers would utter rude noises and promptly toss it on the pyre.

Poems are supposed to whack you over the head with significance in carefully crafted, sparse verses. My prolific word count makes them seem more like a barrage of superficial feelings and profound epiphanies mashed together and thrown at the wall to see if it sticks.

It doesn’t.

I first tried my hand at poetry when I was in primary school. I was challenged to write about something other than horses for a writing assignment. “You need to expand your world!” my teacher said. I was quite happy in my green-grass-and-tweed fenced paddock. I didn’t want to delve outside it. But when I was told that I would fail if I handed in one more story about a horse, I capitulated, the fear of a bad grade potent.

So I wrote poems about darkness, death, unhappiness, and the general horribleness of life as a tween. Navel Lint, but in a vengeful sense, as I wanted to write the most terrible poems ever. Maybe if they were horrible enough, I could go back to writing about horses. Clearly it was all I was good at, because who wants to read poems about death?

I received an A+, and a note home to my parents about therapy.

I’ve long since lost the poems I wrote those 30-some-odd years ago. They have faded from memory, the ideology of that young girl replaced by the real world. The act is remembered, but the words slip from me. I would love to remember them, if for nothing more than posterity.

To laugh at the stilted, spiky, aggressive verses needling shouts of protest at a teacher who – in her brilliance – pushed me out of my comfort zone. And I went, not looking back, the line in the sand erased by the tidal wave I rode when I realized I could write about anything, in any way I wanted.

So in that moment;

wearing red duck boots,
covered in horse smell,

my mind switching gears like a wobbly bicycle,
held upright by a tooth-marked pencil in grubby chore-stained hands;

I was a poet.



Micro-Story – “Parting”

A random, yet vivid dream I had a few nights ago has spilled out onto the page. The emotions were so strong I lifted myself out of bed and wrote it, then sat on it  until now, wondering where on earth it came from.

I have no idea who the characters are other than what they do, where the story is, and what will happen. Consider it a short glimpse, or a micro-story.


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Where I’ve Been – Part 10

Yes! yes its an update! My Goodness I realize it’s been awhile since I visited Barley and Nessa. Since I am pantsing this story, I have no idea where it will go, but for now, I hope some questions are answered for Barley. The poor guy’s been agonizing. Stay? Go? Without further delay, here is part 10. I’m so sorry it took me so long!

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I have a dilemma that I have been sitting on since the middle of the last decade. It’s not embarrassing, per se, but it is something I’m not sure how to go about achieving what I want without causing problems elsewhere in my life. My doubts and my worries have kept me from leaping into the fray, so to speak.

I’ll get right to the point. *deep breath*

I write Erotica.

There, I’ve said it. *whoosh*

Now, some of you way think “But all romance has some form of erotic writing in it, i.e. the sex scenes!”. No, this isn’t like that. This is a storyline which revolves around the sexual nature of the protagonists, their journey, with specific tastes and fetishes, some of it a little less emotional and profound as you read in a typically well written romance novel sex scene. In Erotica, there is sometimes not a Happily-Ever-After, perhaps instead an understanding, or a parting of ways with the knowledge of an interlude never to be forgotten. Sometimes it can get risqué, and enter into territory that does not fall into the category of “normal”. Erotica is about the sensual pleasure (or pain) of sexual explorations and awakening, or perhaps even, yes, sexual healing.

Correct me if I am wrong in this definition, of course. This is how I see Erotica, but someone else may have a different take that would prove very effective. (any takers? *nudge*)

What I discovered, all those years ago, as I wrote out the story, was more like what you get in the Spice line from Harlequin, or some of the anthologies you see on the half-shelf at Chapter’s labelled “Erotica”, hidden in the back corner of the Romance section. A little bit out there, a little bit harder.

“So?” some of you say “What’s the dilemma of that? Write what you love to write!” and I know, really, there should be no problem with me wanting to write what makes me happy. It does. I write it, and it flows for me, it fits. No shame in that.

At least there wasn’t.

My life, as everyone’s does, changed in the past few years. I have a husband, a family, a child. I have a newfound relationship with God. So now, with all these changes, I hesitate completely in sharing it anymore, based on the accepted norms within this stage of family life. Before you castigate me with “What is normal?” let me remind you that I too buck at these constraints of normalcy in some ways, but am also comfortable in the level of safety and comfort they afford. Hence my worry.

I would love to publish in the genre someday, perhaps without a nom de plume. But in that dream, I turn to what others might think, especially my in-laws and relatives. When I started writing this type of fiction, I had not yet met my husband and his family, or the church. What on earth would I say to my in-laws, if I have published an erotic fiction book? What on earth would happen if my Dad wanted to read it? Would he be embarrased or shocked?

These are the things that circle in my head as I read submission guidelines to different publishers. I read the story I’ve got mostly finished, think it’s got great potential, and then never send it. I worry about what the people whom we used to go to Sunday service with would say, if I would be looked at as some sort of wanton deviant in need of prayer and saving. Would we be snubbed in church? Would I be openly admonished for my choice of subject? Most people believe that an author puts themselves in the story, that they have done and do what the protagonists do, on some level.

I say this to myself, and read it from other authors; We are not what is in the story, we are not the characters. Imagination takes the grain of experience, and creates the pearl of the story around it.

I tell myself that it matters not what these people think about me, and my relatives would get over it, even with statements like above. But still I hesitate. Approval from others I respect has always been a crutch I lean on, especially in endeavours where I produce something that must be graded or critiqued. I have learned in my day job not take criticism personally, but technical diddley is emotionless compared to the pouring of heart and soul onto the page that happens when I craft fiction.

Do I take a chance and send it out, braving the potential for people to disapprove or treat me differently, wondering at what strange things I do? I think about my husband and child, and how they would be treated. Do I respect that the risk for upheaval is too high and keep it hid?

I often wonder how other erotic fiction writers handle this situation. What do they say to family members, children, and parents when they tell them they have been published? How do they push through the stereotype (if it rears its silly head), or the self-doubt of acceptance? Sex is still taboo to a lot of people, and to write so blatantly of it evokes a strong response in some.

This is my dilemma.

Yes, I read Romance Novels

I’m back in reading mode again, and even though my WIPs are begging me to visit, the only thing I’ve been able to accomplish is to finish yet another outline for a story. I have it done, the location list and character bios started, and I realized that I now have several (read: 5) of these “story ideas” filed, awaiting their chapters and flesh on the bones. I’m hopeless when I’m in reading mode! Seriously! But, its writing of a sort, right? Right…. add to that, after watching Robin Hood (oh bestill my beating heart, but *#@$ that movie rocked), I’m on a (new) kick for Robin Hood-esque type romances. Bring on sweaty men and horses! Yay! (oh, and a conveniently placed pool for bathing once the battle/chase scene/hard ride to rescue the damsel is over).

Despite my self-beratement for no progress on any writing of substance, I do enjoy being on a kick, especially such a rompy one. Right now, my escape time is filled with swashes being buckled, sumptuous gowns, chivalry, country manors the size of a Holiday Inn, and errant bulls (I just finished Laura Kinsale’s Lessons in French, hilarious!). My “read” stack is slowly getting bigger than my “unread”, and recently, at a garage sale, I sold off most of my Harlequin Blaze monthlies and a Katie McAllisterSteamed for those that are interested, her foray into Steampunk time travel romance – that a fellow avid reader had been looking for. She was so happy she’d found the book, I gave it to her, with the promise to pass it along when done! I found the book interesting, but it wasn’t on my “keeper” list. Katie McAllister normally writes about paranormal stuff like vampires and zombies and werewolves (oh my!), and I tend to give that kind of stuff a miss. Since I have a fascination with Steampunk, I thought I would give it a whirl. You know, I do look ridiculous in goggles, but those corsets are So.Freakin’.COOL!

I’ve always found myself gravitating towards historical romance, “Regencies” as they are commonly referred to. Most are set in the Victorian era, but a few Middle Ages or even Mideaval era slip in, not to mention the whole Scottish Laird story line (Thank you for that obsession Diana Gabaldon). This is what I have been devouring lately, at the exclusion of all else. I’m also drinking more tea, and have a strange desire to go shopping for gowns.

So yes, I read romance novels, and I really do enjoy them. My husband is wondering if I’ve started a new compulsion, and I calmly tell him I’ve always had it. Straight from my teenage days where I read Danielle Steele’s Palomino, and Nora Roberts’ Montana Sky, and had an instant and abiding love for this genre. The story lines so perfectly complete by the end of the book, and the Happily-Ever-After that gives a closure I almost crave in my stories. I hate sad endings. I want to celebrate, not mourn! I also admit I really enjoy the love scenes, and the Moment-of-Truth when the hero and heroine finally figure it all out, usually with much kissing and various other flowery descriptions for getting their humpity on.

I had a comment from a friend awhile ago and it made me sad for her. The friend basically asked me why I read “trashy novels” instead of literary fiction and serious works. Why would I waste my hard earned dollars on smut and “bodice rippers” when I could read Giller prize winners? She couldn’t fathom why an educated woman, such as myself, would lower herself.

I had a hard time explaining myself to her in concrete terms. I know, hard to believe since I have such a conviction about my “girly books”. I quoted statistics about how this genre sells more than any other, about how I enjoy the story without having to think about the consequences of it, but none of it seemed to hit the gong, to say “this is why!”. I told her that romance is out there in other genres, using Avatar as an example, or David Edding’s Belgariad and Mallorean series, where the romance for Garion and Ce’Nedra is a recurring theme in a book series read traditionally by fantasy and Sci-Fi lovers. (May he and his wife Leigh rest in peace). I told her it was escapist fiction, and that felt like a cop-out, and somehow cheapened the amazing authors and stories I have read over the years. I thought, later on, how so many people in the past have said that romance is for “Undersexed housewives who drown their marriage inadequacies with fantasy, created by an unnatainable description of what love is supposed to be”.

Oi. Heavy.

So I sat and thunk on it. I read a couple of Lisa Kleypas novels, re-read some cover snark from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I knew that I was not a closeted romance reader, and I refused to hide my choice of book behind a political periodical or trade publication. I knew that I wanted to write in this genre, and publish in it someday. I knew….

And there it is. I don’t have to justify my choice to anyone, nor have the concrete WHY! at my hand’s ready to fling at the next person who asks me why I read “that crap”. I just do. I like it, it makes me happy. So there *nyah*. And thus, my defense is done.

So now, with that monologue out of thew way (and my shoulders lighter for the realization), I ask you, dear reader, what it is that you read, and love, and do not have to justify to anyone else? tell me why, or why not, and tell me what you do think about romance and its misconceptions and stereotypes. I want to know, not to defend its honour, but to understand and learn how someday, my books might be percieved!

Jeremiah – Part 3

So I had someone tell me they read this story, and it got me thinking I hadn’t worked on it at all. So I went in and wrote the next chapter, so to speak. I’m very unfamiliar with sci-fi, and futuristic settings, so this I am finding harder to write.

It may get a bit sexy, and perhaps even require a warning of *mature content* because it seems my characters are quite aggressive in that regard. Oh my…

Anywho, here is Part 3 of Jeremiah – FYI mature language. F-Bombs and S-bombs, so NSFW in some cases.

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I go through phases. I know this. For months on end now, my favorite snack/meal is peanut butter with bananas on toast, drizzled with honey. Yum. Before that it was Instant Ramen Noodles with shredded cheddar and chopped veggies. Before that? Cottage cheese with avocado, walnuts and honey. And before that… well, I was pregnant, so I was only allowed certain things. None of them Brie, Sushi, or pineapple soft-serve sundaes from Dairy Queen *grump*.

But I digress… This post isn’t about food. Really, it’s not.

I have come to understand I also go through phases with my writing. I leap through periods of incredible creativity, where I can’t seem to stop my wicked little mind from derailing me on a current project or pastime, and my husband will ask me just what I am doing when I am sitting in front of my computer, giggling, sobbing, or squinching my face up like a wrinkly apple, fingers never stopping. I tell him I am doing Kegels and to leave me to my workout. He gives me a funny look and, ripped from my groove, I tell him to go use his Google-Fu to find out what that is, muttering to myself and trying to regain my muse, who has decided to jump head first into a hot tub wearing her new shoes and a tumbler of whisky, when my attention was diverted.

Then, as suddenly as the proverbial plot bunnies hop into my realm and begin leaving story idea eggs all over the place *squish*, they vanish into thin air (or take off on their helicopter bikes back to the South Pole) and I go weeks without a single thought to a WIP, or a new idea to outline. They sit, dusty, onloved, crying out for my input, and I ignore them. I open them up, re-read them, then close them in favour of the latest Jude Deveraux whispering architectural descriptions, or a Harlequin Blaze catergory monthly (or two, they’re like sinful candy, you can’t just read one) steaming beside my (steaming) cup of coffee.

To give it a description, you could say my hobby writing goes through the rigors of feast or famine. But, I prefer to think of it as the ebb and flow of a tide, or the swaying of a tree in the wind. Much more poetic and less abrupt, don’t you think? I follow the circadian rythmn of my Mind’s Eye, or I walk to the beat of my own drum…. *♪…All we are is dust in the wind…♪*

I am quite sure the Cliché Police are going to beat down my door and fine me at any moment, *hides*.

So right now, I am in a reading phase, and have done very little writing in the past month. I am reading everything I can get my hands on! I’ve resorted to stacking the books up on my bedside table, and powering through them. I read three or four books a week. I’ve exhausted the free Harlequins I downloaded, and at this moment, am halfway through the last book in my unread stack of Value Village finds. I’m not sure what to do after that. I may resort to attempting my husband’s collection of Alastair Reynolds. He calls it, Space Opera science fiction. I’m scared. *shudder*

I suppose you could say in my reading, I am working on becoming a better adapted writer to my chosen genre, or researching what the “good romances” read like. I know that I do read like a writer now, and find detail errors much easier to pick up, or issues with character congruity and growth. I routinely pick up on plot holes, or bad research. One book I could not even finish, because the author had the horses lapping water like a dog, and whenever the horses were being harnessed, she called the bridle a “brindle”. Seriously? Where the heck was her editor? *shakes head*. Bad sex scenes are ditto. “Love grotto” and “cattle prod of love” are not descriptions I want to read when the two lovers are gettin’ jiggy with it.

Now, when my husband looks at me and says “You’re reading again?” I just say “It’s not reading Dear Husband, its research. Now massage my feet. The hero is about to discover that he has found his twue lurve and make sweet monkey love in the back of a Phaeton with a closeted wanton, and its heavy reading…..” (I don’t really say that last part, but I think it. Maybe ESP will kick in someday….I never get that foot rub)

Eventually I will gravitate back to my writing. I have no deadlines, I have no overwhelming sense of hurry on this. It is my time, my creation, and if it takes me ten years, then so be it. I am sure my husband thinks its a bit of a waste of time if I never produce anything, and sometimes I wonder myself why I am travelling the path of sixteen WIPs with no endings. But then I hit the next phase of creativity from destitution and characters that weep for my attention, and I am happy again. So I learn to live with it. Every time the plot bunnies visit me, the stories inch further forward. ☺

So tell me fellow writers, what are your phases?

Where I’ve Been – Part 7 1/2

Here is a short bit of the story I’m “pantsing” at the moment. It came to me the other day when I was looking at black & white photographs of Arctic explorers with darkened noses. It’s short, and I am not sure it moves plot, but I wanted to write it anyways. Think of it as a side-trip.

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Where I’ve Been – Part 7

Oi! The time to write has slipped away from me, having two flu bugs go through our house in the past month. Then I encountered a graphic novel, posted online, that I really foudn entrancing, and then my latest stack of harlequins came in.

Needless to say, I’ve been distracted. But last night, I couldn’t sleep, and as usual, another chapter of my “pantsing” novel, Where I’ve Been, spewed out. I have to say its very much fun writing this without a clue to where it might go, and just putting it out there for fun. I know I have some readers out there, and thank you for reading! I appreciate it very much. Its such a rough draft, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t slash and burn before I post it, but I kind of like the rawness I get when I re-read it posted up here, in a different format. It lets me see the story differently, somehow, and I make copious notes as to improvements, fillers for parts I feel are not fleshed enough, and bits I can stroke out.

So, without further hesitation, here is part 7.

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Where I’ve Been – Part 6

OK folks… This one I started awhile ago, and finally finished the other night when my husband was snoring so loudly I could not sleep. Small mercies as a writer to have those insomniac nights, I suppose, eh?

Anywho, here is Part 6, and funnily enough, it deals with the idea of how we handle destruction and human suffering, which is kind of on my mind with Haiti right now.

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Where I’ve Been – Part 5

Here is the next bit of Where I’ve Been. I was able to finish it last night. I’m not sure I like it yet, I’m feeling a bit stagnant and must move the plot along. But, as they say, you have to start somewhere. This is just the beginning, and after edits and rewrites, I am sure it will be much better, in my eyes. 🙂

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Where I’ve Been – Part 4

Here is another chapter that I dabbled with over the weekend.  I have to leave early today, and forgot to post it at lunch, so here you go!

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Where I`ve Been – Part 3

Yep, another night of inspiration on this non-outlined piece, and a chance to do some writing on my lunch hour, has given me chapter 3. I have no idea where the story for this is coming from, and I will ride this muse as long as I can. Maybe even enough to finish it, so you can read it all!

Here it is:

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Where I’ve Been – Part 2

I was so busy last night, and then couldn’t sleep.  if I ever decide to submit this (if I ever get a chance to finish it) I’ll pull it down from here, of course.

But for now, I think I’ll post it up. I’m feeling brave.

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Where I’ve Been

I realized I completely let fall my blog writing when someone asked me why I hadn’t written in awhile. I blinked and aped a silent “oh!” and mumbled some busy excuse.My blog has sat dormant for a month! a whole month of nothing to say, or comment, or write about.

But in reality I am writing. Every day. An hour or so before other duties take over. I sit and I pound out and enjoy the feel of words and excitement flowing out of my fingertips into the vessel of the word processor file. I am dreaming, crafting, plotting, and planning. Along with Christmas cards, letters, new volunteer duties, my son, my husband, my house, my job, and that whole business of sleepdriveworkeatworkdriveeatsleep, I am finding time to write.

For the first time, I came up with an idea for a novel out of the blue, outlined the entire story, and am now writing it. Then, another idea hit me, and I started outlining it. Now, I have three outlines completed, and I have one WIP staring at me from my GoogleDoc dashboard.

This is a first for me, seeing as how I am usually more of a pantser than a plotter. I love just starting a story to see what happens, to experience it fresh as I go, to ride the wave of emotion and excitement when the plot bunny takes a hold of my ankle and chews.

But, with my new idea of plotting out the story arcs reaching over the beginning, conflict, middle, climax, and ending, I wanted to see if being a plotter would give me more structure to my writing, help me be productive with my small time per day to write. In essence, begin writin the moment buttocks hit chair. I also converted my Framemaker files into Google documents, and my writing is now portable. If I am not at home, I can access it. It is saved off my local drive as a backup. (when I finish a section, it gets copied to my local rive as well).

Its working.

I have no idea if what I have will be any good, but I am five chapters into one of my new stories, and have not hit the “where do I go now” wall that springs up in front of me at this stage in the game.  The inevitable crush of weight that settles onto my story once my hero and heroine kiss. that seems to be my stumbling block.

This morning, in the wee hours of black before the dawn, I had this momentus plot bunny knock on the door in my mind and it dumped this on my lap. So sans outline, without planning,  I thought I would share, and ask those of you who do read my small blip of a blog if you would read a story about this. It seems rather foreign for me, and I’m really not sure where it came from.

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Jeremiah – Part 2

I was up again the other night, and had an inkling to visit in on Jeremiah again. I’ve had requests to keep this story going on my blog, so, here is Part 2.

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I am insipired to write today, an exercise I have tried a few times, where I attempt to put myself into the shoes of a profession I have never, ever done to create a scene. I have a friend in chef school right now, and thinking about what she will be doing in her classes provided this to my Mind’s Eye.

I gave up trying to find something interesting in my life of late to tell you about, so I will let Alice have some time this early morning.

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The quiet hush of daybreak permeates around the kitchen. Even the small clink of a knife clattering on the counter, or the margarine tub lid squeaking sounds deafening. I am hestitating to make any more noise, revelling in the absolute quiet around me. I need to have quiet to recharge. Somehow, my introversion provides the fuel for my extraversion.

The dawn is unfolding, shapes outside the window barely discernable from the blanket of night lifting slowly. In about two and a half hours, all the junior school children will line up in front of our driveway to step onto the bus, their chatter always reaching us as we too get ready for the day ahead. For now, the street is empty save the fading glow of the streetlamp and a cat slinking through a cedar hedge, looking for breakfast.

This is the time to write. This is the time to focus and create.

Yet I am sitting here, peanut butter in hand, and I want to remain still, unmoving even as the cursor blinks at me on the page. I want to envelope my shoulders in the peace that early morning can bring, and sink into the comfort it provides, if even for just a moment or two. My characters all have fingers to their lips, and are simply sitting with me, chin in hand, eyes closed and enjoying the respite. It’s been noisy lately.

So I will sit, and enjoy the absence of movement and sound around me, and gain energy from it. All too soon, it will be broken, and the rush will begin.


I am writing.

The floodgates have opened. Well, OK, perhaps they are opening, and the trickle coming through is relief to my parched writer’s muse, standing underneath it and taking big gasping gulps. The pen on page (or in this case fingers on keyboard) is moving again, to my relief. I can hardly wait for each day, so I can put more down in this higgeldy-piggeldy pattern, working on six different projects at once. A bit here, a bit there, a new idea fleshed out over there…. Its intoxicating and exhausting all at once. I feel energy returning to my heavy, atrophied imagination, I can taste the sweet relief of 3 AM with a chapter staring back at me, glowing with the just-spent emotional upheaval which my writing can have on my soul.

I’m only getting a thousand words or so a day in the time between changing diapers, calming fussiness, and playing with Mega Blocks and shape sorters, but it is better than the nothing that came before, therefore I am jubilant.

So far in this storm surge of writing, I have written a scene for my WIP, I have read over a story I started five years before this, updated it, and I am now, with excitement, finishing it for submission.

Yes, I said submission.

So many of you have told me that I am silly not to send my work out there, that I am feeling heady and reckless, and immensely humbled at the reaction. Perhaps I could try… What’s the harm? I finished reading through the Harlequin submission guidelines last night. Gotta start somewheres, and this looks like a good place. Did you know they put out 115 titles a MONTH? Egads and all those wonderful exclamations to describe shock and awe at the prolific paperback influx on the romance aisle, twelve times a year.

Maybe I could be one of those authors.

To describe how I am feeling about this idea of sending something I wrote into someone else to tell me whether I am good enough or not: *ahem*

Absolutely *$@#& terrified.

What is your Landscape?

Painting with words is a description I have used over the years to describe what it is that I do when I write. When people ask me what that means, sometimes it can be hard to really describe other than to say I try and put a picture into my reader’s mind with the words I use. I have been thinking a lot about the “painting” I do when I am describing a scene, a character, or setting a scene in which plot moves. Using the idea of “painting” with my words gives a concrete picture to someone, or enough details for them to form the words into an idea of what something or someone looks like. Picture in your Mind’s Eye a beautiful painting of a sunset across a lake with mountains in the distance, and then imagine that you have read the description of that painting, and are able to see the same thing in your mind.

Have I lost you yet? Rather obsfucated, I realize, but is an attempt to provide a glimpse into a technique of writing that gives me a chance to work my writing muscle in many different ways.

This concept was driven home as I drove to a doctor’s appointment last week, when I was listening to the CBC, and Eleanor Wachtel was interviewing Agnès Varda. Agnès Varda is a french filmmaker with incredible talent, spurred the French new wave film genre, and her films are often artistic works with very deep, introspective, and quirky stories. She is a fount of interesting ideas, and at 80, has added wisdom to her answers as Eleanor delved into her creative mind.

One section of the interview has stuck with me, so much so that I can point out the exact spot on the River Parkway (where I was driving) that it came across the airways into my ears. they were discussing her new film The Beaches of Agnès, and Agnès asked a very simple question. What is your landscape?

That made me almost pull the car over, the question heavy in my brain. They continued to talk, and I half-listened to her descriptions of her own landscape (a beach), my mind now clicking along, trying to answer the question as quickly as I could, the excitement of the idea taking hold like wildfire. Exactly! Everyone has a landscape, a scene in their head that would describe their personality and character, their desires and dreams, all the things that make them them. the concept could be applied to anyone really. For instance, a person who loves to climb mountains would have a landscape with mountains in them… Maybe. It would also depend on the inner thoughts and conciousness of that person. Maybe his inner landscape is a city! The possibilities are endless, and distinct for each person, and I hypothesise, surprising in many cases.

I haven’t fully defined my landscape yet. I have an idea of it, but its still this nebulous thing that I can’t pin down exactly. I haven’t tried to write it yet, so perhaps that has aborted my thought process, since I tend to work much more fluidly with keyboard or pen in hand.

I’m also not sure it can be done until one is older, and replete with life experience to say definitively that this is them. Or perhaps it just requires strength and confidence in self-understanding. Could I describe what I think another person’s landscape is? Possibly, but it would be based on my conjecture on their personality, character, and their insights into themselves. And perhaps the landscape I describe today would not be the landscape of tomorrow. This would be a great litmus test on how well you know a person, and a innovative way to develop characters in a story. I’m going to try that next.

So I ask you, what is your landscape? How would you describe it? What would be in it, and how would it feel, taste, or smell? Would it change over time, or are you able to concretely say “this is me” by describing yourself using a backdrop of our world, in some fashion? Couldy ou describe your landscape to someone else if you were asked to? Would you be able to write it down?

And therein is the essential question I am asking msyelf, as Agnès asked us out in Radioland. Could I paint with words, like I do to describe scene in my stories, well enough to show someone my landscape?

I may just have to try that.