May 9, 2006

On Writing by the Baby Flytrap Killer

One moment the words on the page are alive and breathing. The moment I walk away from the computer screen, it seems as if my baby venus flytrap of a passage has died without consuming its first reader. Too early to consume solids and I abandoned it. My Person from Porlock isn't even tapping on my study door--he is laundry, sleep, books or some other such nonsense.

I've been writing, and it seems like each snippet I put down on paper seems to diminish after that first blush of inspiration. I think I'm going to set down goals for myself, like in classes. By Friday a short-short. By Tuesday a poem. I think I chose journalism so I could have those nasty little scratchings on my calendar. Deadline-oriented. And I fool myself into putting it off. Am I that entrenched in educational A-mongering culture?

I've also been thinking on--not writing-- a book. The final paper for Publications Workshop was a book proposal. I liked mine so much that I wanted to start my first chapter, but I walked away from it and haven't returned. Finals have gotten in the way, but it is something else, too. I hate to go crazy with the comparisons, but writing is like waking from a fantastic dream, walking around with it, and suddenly realizing that it was all in your head and you move on in your day, chastising yourself for your silly imaginings. However, five, ten, thirty years down the line, you remember what that dream was and hit yourself for not writing it down, living it out. I don't want to do that. My subconscious is speaking and I'm finally listening. But the voice screaming, "PAGES! PAGES!" has to be denied for the moment with a century of British authors consuming me with their aged, yet thriving flytraps of work.

How wonderful it must be to be in the Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume II!

Oh, to believe in the perpetuity of pages! To believe in assaulting readers to the point that your work is bound into a volume as heavy as a small child and distributed to college students for consumption, internalization and inevitably imitation in one form or another. How frivolous, how beauteous, how irritating and remarkable, this struggle.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at May 9, 2006 7:58 AM | TrackBack

I now own about 4 Norton Anthologies: two British literature, one Shakespeare, two volumes of American Literature. The book(s) of sand? You have no idea...

Hopefully this final exam will go well, eh? :-)

Posted by: Karissa at May 9, 2006 12:07 PM

I think your book proposal had a lot of potential, Amanda! It's a great cast of characters and a quirky concept that could definitely make a great story. Go for it! No such thing as wasted writing. (The graded proposals are now in the 4th St. Joe's copy room -- you can get it with comments before you leave for Summer...)

Posted by: Mike Arnzen at May 9, 2006 11:05 PM

Amanda, I am in love with you. This confession might come on a bit strong, but I just thought you should know that I am madly in love with you.

(Okay, I just wanted to say how much I loved this post. But it's just not me if I don't exaggerate heavily!)

Posted by: Valerie Masciarelli at May 10, 2006 12:54 AM

Karissa, I'm happy to say all the finals went...where, I cannot say. :-)

Dr. A, thanks for the support. I had a lot of fun with my topic. It started out as something incredibly serious and moving and was flipped on its head into the quirkiness that I submitted. I plan on working hard at it this summer.

And Val, oh, Val, thank you for the compliments. I love ya too. And, no, it would not be you without some hint of blessed exaggeration to break the monotony of our existences...whoops, two religion finals will bring out that kind of verbosity. :-D

Posted by: Amanda at May 10, 2006 12:02 PM

Sounds very promising, Amanda.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at May 10, 2006 12:23 PM
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