The last post

Manet’s The Bugler (1882) – Wikimedia Commons

Sunday 1st July

Well, I’ve done my week, commenting on sundry things that have interested me, so I’ll finish with some observations on writing.

Unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I have no deep thoughts to offer.  I have no learned message for the world in my writing.  Writing is something I do because I simply can’t not write.

Having said that, there’s always more to it.  Deep thoughts or not, we are what our lives and relationships have made us and our experiences come through what we write.  Often we deliberately write from our own experience, although on the whole, I prefer not to.  It’s a dodgy area, and I’ve found that if you write what ‘really happened’, it doesn’t work.  You’re too close up to the event to get a balanced view.  Unless it’s your autobiography, make up a new story around it.

What I really like is when the subconscious gets to work and puts in something I wasn’t expecting.  I frequently find that I’ve woven a thread I hadn’t noticed at the time, but which my subconscious thought ought to go in.

I love the challenge of new ideas and new voices and what I’m going to do with them.  I love producing a finished item from a mere idea.  I love seeing characters appear out of nowhere to take up residence.  I love being someone else for a while; I write in the first person a lot, not because it’s better than being me (it’s usually a great deal worse), but because I like to see things from a different point of view and write in a different voice.  I imagine actors feel very much the same.

I’m not a philosophical writer.  I don’t write about the state of the world, except peripherally.  If I write about a soldier, I don’t comment on the futility of war.  To anyone with half a brain, the futility of war is a given, and polemic is boring.  For me, it’s the people, the characters.  The futuristic play that I’m planning, based on the destruction of the world, isn’t about space travel or the fate of mankind or how things came about.  All that is background.  It’s the characters and their interactions in their current situation that interest me.  The world has gone, never mind how.  How will the people cope?  Introduce a demon and what will happen?  What if?

How people deal with the material they’re given is the core of my work, and I believe this is what readers and audiences want to see.  It’s the stuff of life and if I have a message for the world, that’s what I want to write about.

Clare

clare.girvan.co.uk

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