What Writing Means to Me

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

(Regardless whether you don’t read this, please comment about what writing means to you. AJ Brown asked Mark Wolf what writing meant to him in my private web office, and I’ve been pondering this at various times since the question was raised. My opinion is merely that: a subjective opinion that may vastly differ from yours, which is why I want to know what writing means to you.)

What does Writing Mean to Me?

After any event there is only story remaining. There is the Creation story, the scientific Big Bang theory. There is the born-again story and the Wiccan story. There is the story after elections, stories of earthquakes and tsunamis and disastrous calamity. There are stories of peace and Berlin Walls coming down, of both sides shaking hands in harmony. After the event, only the story remains, a mystical recollection of the truth remaining, the truth as it pertains to us, the emotional truth of fiction as it roils over our souls and the factual truth of essays and articles as it relays the reality of events that have already played themselves out. Every picture is worth a thousands words of story.

Beyond that, writing is a magical system. While I am writing this, I am in Central Illinois. But if you are reading this, through the magical system of writing these words are entering your mind through a manipulated form of telepathy, despite distance between us, despite differences in time, I am reaching you through telepathy. This idea isn’t mine. It came from Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” but it’s true.

Writing is the only thing left to do after the story concludes. And it is telepathy that bypasses the restrictions of time and space, the physical form of telepathy bypassing spatial restraints. And with the internet, we are able to telepathically reach the world with the emotional truth of our stories, with the essays and articles we wish to convey.

In relaying an event it is the art of “writing” that is needed to convey the facts. In the relaying of emotional truth in fiction, it is the art of “story” that is required to convey the emotional integrity of events that we have gone through in the past. The writer takes the emotional truth of his past and distills it into his story, recreating the emotions, exaggerating the fears and wants and desires, making them become real in a fictional setting.

But writing is about “liquid imagination,” too. Not Liquid Imagination Online, but “liquid imagination” the concept. It flows from the heavens like a river of pure creativity. Sophia is who I use in my mind to represent the source, and Sophia might be related to the Greek word “wisdom,” or she might be the muse of all muses (the archetypical muse). Regardless of the “source,” the river is true and pure, and it flows through all creative writing. If flows through the works appearing in SNM Horror Magazine, flows through the stories appearing in Silver Blade and Liquid Imagination. While this is merely my thought, I believe it to be true, and I see the creative reservoir of all humanity revealed through stories in anthologies and novels and novellas and magazines. It is a current that–in its purest form–can carry away the masses like those who have been transported into the worlds of Harry Potter and Dan Brown and Stephen King and Dave Farland and Gary Braunbeck and whoever it is that is creating a current, a movement within the minds of other, through the telepathy of writing. Whoever it is who is unleashing a torrent of liquid imagination into a novel, into a magnum opus of such power, that a flood ensues. People’s minds capture those waters, and excitement grows as the river carries away thousands, depositing them on foreign shores of far countries, making them feel the emotional truth of fictional ideas and worlds and characters and creatures.

And the story, through telepathy and magic, through emotional truth and the restructuring of reality in fictional form, the story remains pure with integrity. Remains steadfast as it reconstructs emotional truth in fictional characters and settings. As I’m writing this, Black Eyed Peas just performed on Good Morning, America! I paused to watch it with my 7-year old son, and we clapped our hands to one of our favorite songs, “I Got a Feelin.’” We watched liquid imagination flowing through that song performed on the Good Morning, America! stage. Leo and I watched the emotional truth of that song taking effect on the crowd, making them come alive and jump, waves of people jumping, their heads popping up and down like pistons.

There is emotional truth in that song, the source of liquid imagination that all artists strive for. This emotional truth is a way of looking at something, and describing something or painting something artistically, with words or the painter’s brush. With song or sculpture, the reconstruction of reality, whether in fictional form or with bedrock reality. But the power is the emotional truth that has the capacity to sweep up thousands and transport them to new vistas and worlds, to introduce them to fictional characters full of emotional integrity and truth, and to introduce them to new angles and ways of looking at familiar objects such as landscapes and urban legends.

I have to end this in failure because I haven’t fully conveyed how I feel; the truth is on the tip of my tongue like a forgotten word almost remembered. But I can’t dig deep enough to find that truth and express it, because there is a story inside me that has been tearing its way out of me, a story about watching paint dry. It is more important to let liquid imagination flow and create that story regardless of how few people read it, because it is my emotional truth filling the fictional story. Who knows? Maybe it will carry hundreds or thousands of people away and deposit them on distant shores. Or maybe one or two people will read it and critique it and decide it’s severely lacking. Regardless, the river continues to flow, the artist continues to paint, and the performer continues to sing. And through them all–through brush and song and the stroke of the pen–the river continues to flow.

(From my private web office which consists of 360+ writers, poets and editors, I had these worthy comments)

From Sue Babcock

From AJ Brown (his words below):

Here is the importance of stories, not just fiction, but reality: Without them, WE forget. The story doesn’t go away. We forget the story and as Sue said, if it isn’t written down then it didn’t happen, right? Yes and No. It may have happened, just no one remembers it.

It’s like that old question: If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, did it make a sound?

Of course it did. No person may have been there to hear it, but animals and, surely, insects were there. That tree falling could have been a wood pecker’s home. So, now what does the wood pecker do? it has to find a new home. It could have been termintes that caused the tree to fall. How many of those termites were flung in the air toward other trees as the one fell? How many of them were crushed? Speaking of crushed: what if Bambi were in the vicinity of where the tree fell? What if his mom were there? Instead of getting killed by a hunter, well, his mom could have been crushed by that tree. So, just because a HUMAN isn’t there to wintess it, doesn’t mean it had no sound.

This lends to what I am saying: The story is always there, but unless it is told, then it is forgotten. It is not that it didn’t happen, but that it did and no one cared enough about it to chronicle it.

My grandfather was in WWII. He told me ONE war story and I’ll never forget it. He said their plane went down in the jungle and not only did they have to fight the enemy, they had to fight the natives as well. He told me how, they had dug a trench as fast as they could, because the natives were shooting arrows at them, but it did relatively no good because the natives were all around them. As they were in their trench, the guy to the right was picked off with an arrow. Then the guy to his left was picked off. He was shot as well, but in the leg. He rolled to the bottom of the trench, pulling his dead friends with him, covering himself with their bodies for protection.

Now, if that story had never been relayed to me, would the events still have happened? Absolutely. It’s just no one would have ever heard about it. I’ve often wondered about how many stories like this happened that died with my granfather.

A lot of what I write has ME in it. Something or other is based off of my life, my thoughts, my feelings, things I have seen or heard or of people I know and places I have been. Most of my stories have some sort of emotion in it to me. It may not be there for you, but it is for me.

My novel, Cory’s Way, has a LOT of me in it, especially in regards to how I feel about homeless people. If you read the bit I posted in here the other day, you will have noticed two brothers–the Burnette boys. They are based on the real life Burnette boys that bullied the other kids in the mill village where I spent my summers and holidays with my grandparents.

The homeless man is a real man. The overpass is a real overpass. The neighborhood and a good chunk of the outlying area that will be in the book are real.

So, that is a longwinded way of saying that writing the story makes it more realistic, but doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It just helps cement it in the eyes of others.


From Arlene Davis (Editor of Mirror Magazine):

Writing, to me, doesn’t NEED to mean anything. It’s just something that happens, like rain falling from the sky. Pure, natural, and unforced. If you have to force it, it’s wrong. Turn and walk away from the keyboard or notepad or what-have-you. Do anything but marry without love, Mr. Bennet said. I would revise that to: “Do anything but write by force.”


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