I was just recently told I “certainly write alot” by a new email friend. I had to chuckle, because I know there are some far more prolific writers out there than I. I have been blogging since about 2008, and it’s been my life line as I do this stay at home mother thing. It helps me keep my sanity, though I say that quite loosely, because I tend to dance on the precipice of madness just to see what happens with my writing.
I wanted to share a very interesting email exchange I had with a very wonderfully creative ex-friend writer. The most experimental writing I have ever had was in a correspondence with my internet friend Craig a few years back.
He loved writing in metaphor and interacting with him was a thoroughly enjoyable process for me. I wanted to share some of the exchange we had. I sorely miss our correspondence. It was some of the most fun and creatively energizing exchanges I’d ever had with another person.
“I just love tangents. I mean, I simply adore tangents. Tangents are like exploring a new part of town and finding a really cool pub. But, I think that is why structure is something that interests me so. I have spent my time sitting in bar rooms and coffee houses parsing Hume and Kierkegaard, and I do enjoy it to an extent, but having someone say a word or turn a phrase that simply resonates in your ear and take it and role on with it.. before you know it the sun is rising and you have no idea where the night went or how you got talking about something you didn’t even know you had an opinion about. It is like jazz, but with ideas. Like music theory contains a structure that allows the musician to explore and experiment in. It is important to know how to read music, but it is just important how to forget the music and simply express yourself, no?
This is what allot of my writing is to me exploration (especially the nighttime stuff that I do after dreaming) Is has to be grounded in something real, and then carried away from there… it is like the art of logic.
I love Kerouac, the music of writing, like a jazz musician pushing things further… in context but not worried too much about staying within the lines. i get to typing and I simply forget what is going on and what time it is.
Right now, i looked [your letter] over and saw the phrase, “the ‘deliciousness’ of words” and i would have to agree, only words by themselves do not have that affect on me… it is the context within which the words is used… it is the phrase, or the whole idea that jumps out at me… the image it creates, like a cave painting trying to communicate something far greater than just the paint and stone could ever represent. Like good poetry, painting an image with the understanding that the image includes so much more than physical things – the image also include emotions and ideas and logic. but using the physical to convey deeper aspects of the logic and concepts.
So, now imagine that two different people practiced at building their ideas on their own; journal writing or what not. Each doing their own thing and learning their own way to massage their communication skill into an art form, and then they get together and start working off each other like two jazz horn players, one playing a little while, then the other takes a few notes from what the first guy played and riffs on his own off of that. Back and forth they go, each taking a little of what the last did and building further in their own direction… ending up somewhere completely amazing and unanticipated. imagine that, but with words and ideas… and ending with thoughts that have never been had before. Not just understanding something someone else was trying to say. But understanding something that has never been perceived before… where the thought, the consciousness of the thought is the Thing that is real.. the newly discovered planet or species of animal. And what if the thoughts are already there but our language is too simple to convey them… what if there are thoughts already in our heads that we cannot recognize because our understanding of language is too simplistic? Isaac Newton had to invent calculus to understand how the planets moved.
So, here I am sitting at my computer feeling like I just awoke to find myself in the middle of a desert next to a car that ran out of gas. It is such an AWESOME feeling!”
So…imagine my surprise when I read those words. I realized how beautiful writing can be when you can write in images and emotions rather than simply stringing words together in some sort of forced or analytical way.
“I read this today in Franny and Zooey – it’s particularly salient to my current thought processes.
“The Des Moines expatriate in New York. I could’ve killed him, I swear to God. What a night. I sat there for two solid hours while he told me what a superior son of a bitch I am, and what a family of psychotics and psychopathic prodigies I come from.”
Wow! There’s that and so much more I find interesting in F&Z I need to journal some more about.
Sadly, in this day and age there’s too much in society about reducing the range of ‘normal’ to the point that even those persons without exceptional precocity/creativity, but who are merely quirky, is deemed crazy and in need of medications.
My problem isn’t so much that I was ever a genius (though I am quite intelligent). However, I have come to realize that my creativity is been giving me a problem all my life because I haven’t understood it or given it expression and it was nearly forced out of me at times, at least until only recently (the past few years or so)
Let me share something that came out of reading and ruminating on your email and OTHER things lately. it’s a rough thing…I’m not so used to “free range” expression. for a moment…it’s going to be all about me because you unlocked something inside.
I need help releasing creative energy…that urge to purge oneself of thoughts, ideas, emotions…that want, no NEED to spill out into something I can use or learn from. It needs channeling, not controlling, not managing, not ignoring, not reducing things to nothing, or analyzing to death, or pretending one doesn’t have anxiety related to the need to purge what goes on inside their heart/mind…instead of doing something ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ like, oh i don’t know like cleaning the house or getting a J-O-B. not that those things aren’t important …they just aren’t that important to ME as much right now.
The job, the job, the job. yes. the best function of a job for me was to give me a legitimate ‘cover’ while i sort things out in my head. look ‘normal’, be ‘different’. and now…without that input of my old career, without that constant stream of working with my hands, interacting with people, troubleshooting instrumentation and people like I did when talking with them about my ideas in between tasks or after work over a cold beer, i’m dying inside. no outlet, no understanding friend/mentor to philosophize with me about life.
interacting with intelligent, creative people, is like sharpening my axe, ya know? or synergy, or…like this “having someone say a word or turn a phrase that simply resonates in your ear and take it and roll on with it.. before you know it the sun is rising and you have no idea where the night went or how you got talking about something you didn’t even know you had an opinion about. It is like jazz, but with ideas“. i need that kind of interaction and i need refinement of my intuitive/creative/intellectual parts. how do i understand what goes on in my heart and mind and how do I unload the creative energy into something that GIVES me more energy, NOT takes it away, if not by interacting with other intuitive, creative AND intellectual persons (yes, ALL of the above, not just persons with one of those traits). and now all i keep thinking about it is what good is having intelligence and creativity without an outlet or without knowing how to accept that is the way you are and this is how to channel it, without an understanding friend or two and without some way to (at least to yourself) justify yourself taking up space and consuming resources while leaving a wake of chaos behind you. my kind of creativity, intellect, and what not does NOT complement motherhood/wifeyhood so well.
Because, well, I’m slightly un-balanced. I can’t find that ‘middle ground’, the ‘right consistency’, the ‘right blend’. [the phone rang at this point and my husband and I spoke about what was going on in my head…and my agitation…he suggested he could give me one of his Xanax pills] while we are at it, let’s talk about medications, shall we? i tried to explain to J the chaotic mental morning I had. while it was partially due to my grandmother dying and him being a bit of a butthead, MOST of it was about finally having been finally made aware that the way I’M wired is that I need to swim out further to the deep waters and stay off the beach (though making intricate sandcastles wouldn’t be quite so bad). And I should NOT be ashamed of how I am because I’ve been that way far too long dammit… Those who understand what those deep waters are like are already there inviting you in, telling you the water is wonderful…while those that are not are on the beach calling you back with the promise of Xanax to take care of your anxieties while you stand hip deep in the seawater wondering which way you should go – out to the crystal blue waters where there might be dangerous sharks and stingrays (which really aren’t all that dangerous if you know how to avoid their stingers) lurking underneath the waters, or turn back onto the beach where it’s “safe” and “predictable” but above all NORMAL.”
So…that was a few years back…and I really miss that crazy kind of exchange. I’m still a lousy house-frau, but at least my daughters are getting older and more interesting to talk to. I realize that much of the freedom in childhood comes from not having to censor themselves all the time…well, until they are forced to by other people.
I fear that most people want to be normal so much that they miss out on a rich and textured internal experience, and when they don’t allow themselves to be creative and experimental in their thinking and behaving and living, they won’t allow other people to be creative and experimental either.
I’ve been on this planet nearly 42 years, and I have found that most people try to police other people’s thoughts and behavior. All it takes is a look of disdain, a roll of the eyes, an insensitive comment. Individual differences are often ridiculed. Intensity is often mistaken as craziness. “Curb your enthusiasm” is the name of the game.
It’s quite upsetting to me.
At best, “Normal” people are boring. At worst, they are soul-sucking.
I hate normalcy. And I hate the fact that all my life people have been trying to make me and others like me be normal. The only thing they’ve succeeded in doing was dim the light that shines inside us and make us physically and emotionally tired from having to swim upstream against the current of normalcy.
I hope I can recover some of that playfulness and humor and above all that creativity that got unleashed, at least for a little while.