My head seems more clear now (well, as clear as it can be, really) and creative inspiration has been coming to me recently, through art, media, music, books and the likes.
Instead of not doing anything about it, I have decided that this was a sign to take a leap into something new; something I know I can stick to. You see, much like running or playing an instrument or cooking, if you do not spend adequate time practicing your craft, you tend to get a bit rusty.
I am here to tell you that: yes, I admit it. I have become a bit rusty with my prose.
During the quarantine lockdown earlier in the year (by the way, I hope all is well and healthy with you, dear reader), I finished what was going to be a short story but unexpectedly turned into a novelette (the technical term for that weird space between short story and novella) titled “Lasciare Andare”. It’s a wonderfully haunting little story that takes place around Rome. Anyway, as I started the editing process, I felt something missing.
And I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
After a few days of sitting there and letting my frustration get the best of me, I put it away, saying that I needed a few days to really think about it.
That was back in May. I haven’t picked it up since. I gave in to the ever-terrifying writer’s block. It got me with all its teeth, tore me open, and held me down as I bled out everywhere but on the page.
Recently, my passion has come back. Not only have I figured out what was missing from my story (which will be coming somewhere, sometime and soon. Period.) but my urge to write, thanks to some proper overdue inspiration along with a clearer headspace thanks to some work on myself, has come back to me with fire and fury.
And I am ready to begin again.
That being said, my “pen” needs a little tuning.
I thought about some big projects I want to get to eventually in my head and then pulled the reins, as I didn’t want to start something so quickly and have it not come to its full potential. Like relationships, sometimes rushing into big, expansive projects after radio silence for months is not the best thing. It could lead back to old patterns of frustration and another writer’s block. And it’s not a fun lesson to learn again and again.
After some thought, I went through my bookshelf looking for some inspiration.
I came upon a book my father got me for my birthday when I was a teenager (as a teenager, I was not as much into writing. If you told teenage Dave that he would graduate college with a writing degree, he would probably laugh at you. Very hard, and with a sly smirk on his face). The book is called “Now Write!” edited by Sherry Ellis published in 2006. It’s a collection of personal writing exercises from various authors aimed to build your craft. Eighty-six, to be exact.
This seemed like a nice tool to jumpstart the metaphorical engine.
After some thinking on it, I decided that I wanted to find a way to hold myself accountable to these writing exercises, jumpstart my writing engine within my mind and imagination, and also produce and release/showcase some writing to the world: all in one go.
And thus, this project was born.
All the writing that comes out of these exercises will be posted here. Now, some exercises will only call for a page of writing or maybe even flash fiction. Some may be a bit bigger (and who knows, it could spark more story ideas for different projects in the future) in length, but I don’t expect it to get too insane.
Now, of course, I will go through the directions of the exercises on my own. I will even credit the name of the exercise and author below the work that is posted. But I have decided not to explain each exercise to you. You will only get the story (and pieces of story, which some of these exercises seem to only require) that are produced by each one.
I wish for the focus of my posts, for you, dear reader, to be the storytelling itself. Going into great detail about instructions just might kill some of the magic. I’d rather kill off some characters. That seems more thrilling, no?
Lastly, dear reader, I feel the need to mention this. I believe all good things in life come to an end. Depressing? Maybe a little. But I love the feeling of closing a book after reading the last chapter, or listening to the last chords or lyrics of an album and having it fade to silence, or a good movie that has an ending that both satisfies and mystifies.
What I’m trying to say is that this project will not go on forever. It has an endpoint, and I am quite aware of that. This is a journey for me to learn from. This is a story for you to get lost in.
Let’s face it, we will probably both get a little lost in it. But that’s the beauty of being both a storyteller and an audience member.
Who knows, maybe at the end I will print the collection (a fitting word, now that I write about it) out and distribute it as a zine. Might be bigger than that.
Ok, pulling the reins again. We’ll worry about it later.
Expect a post every Monday and Thursday. Weekends off. Monday will be a Mixed Cocktail. Sometimes exercises, sometimes journaling about what I’m reading or thinking, just to mix it up a bit. Thursdays, though. Thursdays are for Fiction: Neat, so expect nothing but story from the exercises then.
And there you have it. And here we are. This should be fun.