Life Imitating Art

I do not know much in the world. I’ll admit it first hand. I’m young and have had very few ‘real’ experiences, aside from moving to another country at the age of 18. Everyone always says, write what you know. But what do I know? Not much.I know what it feels like to feel like you don’t belong somewhere, and to feel like an outsider. I know what it feels like to pick up my entire life and give everything up on the unknown. I know what it feels like to be scared to death in a ‘I’m going to vomit if I let myself think’ kind of way and keep moving anyway because there’s nothing else you can do.

Other than that I’ve got nothing. Except one thing: I know about love. I know what it feels like to love a friend so much that you would do anything, give anything to protect them. I know what it feels like to love your partner so much you feel like your heart swells a little bit to think of it. Love that makes you know that no matter what happens, you’re always going to be there for that person. No matter how bad things get.

And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Bryn, the main character in my attempt at a novel, and thinking about how she represents that in me. Without meaning to, I’ve written these characteristics into her. The feeling of being an outsider, and the feeling of loving another person so much that you would literally risk death to be there with them, even if it gets you nowhere.

Then I started thinking about the way I have to listen to music to write, and how it has to, has to, has to represent the emotions in the scene for it to be effective for me. And I find myself coming back, over and over, to Florence and the Machine. Particularly, Cosmic Love. Now, I know this was written about a standard boy and girl sort of affair, but I find it particularly fitting for Bryn and her best friend, Nadi, and the difficulties they find themselves facing.

Strange? Yes. Interesting to think about? For me, yes.

And goodness knows, I do love thinking! 😉

Anyway, it is a lovely song. Click below to listen!

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Music

I’m not sure what it is about the girl, but for some reason entirely unknown (but often speculated upon) to me, Regina Spektor’s songs creep into my head and become a kind of breeding ground for new stories. Now, she may not be everyone’s kind of singer but there is something about her that is just magic.

I kid you not, the idea for my Masters’ dissertation was bred upon one of her songs called Machine. It made me think about the relationship between people and technology, the ways in which technology has changed relationships between people and what it means to an identity that we have access to all these technologically enabled media in which we are whatever we want to be- what this means for truthfulness and honesty as well as how our perceptions of our online personas relate to our physical personalities. Anyways, long story short, she hits me hard right in the thinker.

At the moment, my obsession is ‘Just like the Movies’ (just as a warning, it is not loved by everyone), which has crawled into my head and made a home, as well as calling up a woman’s voice who wants her story put down on paper but is being surprisingly uncommunicative. She continues to pop up at the most inopportune moments and then disappear whenever she likes. Pff. Annoying and intriguing at the same time. Her reluctance to tell me the entire story only makes me wonder about her all the more. I sense a very twisted ending…

The Parasite of Writing

Now this is going to sound strange, and I’m very, very aware of it, but let me get it off my chest. I sometimes feel that comparing writing to a child is a little too kind of an analogy. All published writers, those making money from it, always say how its a little piece of their soul bounding into life and shooting off into a million different directions. And it is. They’re right. But what about all the unpublished writers?

I sometimes feel like the writing is more a parasite, as if its something that has infiltrated my body, my mind and my soul and is consuming more of me every day. Sure, some days I wake up with a blank mind that’s like, “Hey, chill out! You’ve earned it!” But most days I wake up with all these stories in my head, all these characters talking, and they all want out. Given that I have not (as of yet) earned any money from writing, it proves itself rather unwelcome at certain points in my life. For example:

It’s the final year of the undergraduate degree. Working 2.5 days a week. Being a trainee-teacher for an EFL class 1 night a week. Attending class 3 days a week. Working in an after-hours school 2 days a week. Creating lesson plans anytime I can. Sleeping whenever I can. And bam: dissertation. Dissertation slips in, has to slip in, has to fit in somewhere. There isn’t any time. There isn’t any time! But wait one more second, there’s Bryn. There’s Bryn, the main character of my recently edited mss, standing there, smiling, and waiting for me to tell her story. Where does everything fit? Where does it all fit?!

 

Well, luckily for me, I figured it out. I even got to sleep a few hours every night! But that is just one example of a period in which the ‘writing parasite’ struck at a most inappropriate time. Most inappropriate indeed!

I feel, sometimes, that I could be a lot more successful if the parasite would go away. Like, have a real job instead of working at a restaurant (again, ugh!). I feel, sometimes, like I’d be a lot more connected to reality if the parasite would go away.

But then I realize, life would be a lot more boring as well.

Then I realize, though the parasite’s timing sucks, I’m glad I’ve got it. That bug, under my skin, makes me see things that aren’t there and let’s me live in places that aren’t there. In fact, though it’s timing could be better, I wouldn’t give the damned thing up.

Not even when I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night for weeks on end.

Foolish, foolish girl.

Editing

Quote

Well, good golly Miss Molly, I never would have imagined editing could be such bleeding hard work! You get to the end of writing a novel and think, hell’s yeah, I’ve just finished! I have created something and brought it into the world! There’s only a little way more to go so that it can (hopefully) get published.

Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Editing properly appears to be taking a little bit longer that writing it did. What’s that you say, ‘impossible’? Apparently not. And worse than that, I think all writers out there know that writing in and of itself is fun. The escapism reading a book offers is exponentially increased when you have all the control you could ever hope for. But editing? Blah! Tedious, dull and repetitive.

I think Regina Spektor’s song, ‘Edit’, provides a good view of the way it feels to be editing so that’s why it’s hanging about up there. If anyone has any words of encouragement please feel free to share. I’m not sure how much longer I can take this!