Spoiler Alert Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
I vividly remember when I finished reading Charlotte’s Web in fourth grade. I cried when Charlotte died. Her loss left me in a strange place where I was contemplating death for days. I also remember the day my grandmother died. These two experiences are not the same. The loss of Charlotte did not prepare me for the loss of my grandmother. There is no book that can prepare you for some life experiences.
Literature supports in experiences we are going through or have gone through. When I thought of death without the real life experience of losing someone, the understanding felt distant. It was something foreign to me that I wanted to grasp without gaining it through my own experience. I was left with a world full of uncertainty and hugged my mom a little tighter after reading it.
Trying to prepare someone for a new experience is like describing what an orange tastes like to someone who’s never tasted an orange. We can explain how to eat it and that the peel isn’t the good part. We can even tell them the juicy fruity part is on the inside, but we can’t tell them if they will enjoy it or how much they will enjoy it. They may even find a different way to eat it than we taught them. That’s how I feel about literature. It can explain what to do and give some insight on how to do it, but an individual can not be prepared for how they will feel in new experiences using literature.
I do believe seeing how characters react to an experience can suggest the right thing to do and it may even give some insight on how someone else is feeling. I don’t think literature can prepare us for how we will feel going through our own life experiences. I do feel it can help readers learn to use understanding and empathy toward someone else’s experience by seeing the world from another characters point of view.
The life you desire doesn’t exist with me
It makes me sad I’m not the one for you
I’ve no desire to grow into something created for you
I’ve stepped away from the crowd
I spend nights on the outskirts of town
Contemplating the darkness within me
I’ve nothing to give but words on words
The only guarantee here is that the end is always near
The only promise I can give is that I will continue searching til my lids close and no longer open
Even then I hope the search continues
I’m not the one for you
I wasn’t placed on this planet for you
My place is separate and set apart from the rest
But I do hope to be wrapped up in you from time to time to ease the pains of constant shedding
I’m shedding you
I slept with a man
But now I sleep with
My laptop and my books
It’s not that they’re people
It’s just that this bed
is too large for me
And most nights I fall asleep
In the middle of Reading
It’s nice to have them there
when I wake up
She wasn’t ugly
Not by far
Actually, she had a pretty face
A face you’d see in the mall
Maybe the girl across from you
buying panties and a bra
the one you smile at and politely
say excuse me to
She looks like she could be
your favorite cashier
Or someone who got straight A’s
She and I
We both felt that powerless sting
We both sat and wondered
What it is we did
to be left
Was it the sex
Was it something we said
After so much effort
And of course
We should have known
I mean, we knew
We knew he wouldn’t stick around
And someday another woman
Maybe the new girl will have
the same basic name as hers
Because it’s highly unlikely
to be the same as mine
in spelling at the least
It feels like bondage
she and I
we do not compare
Maybe in another world
In another place
In another time
My face is no basic face
And my body meticulously sculpted
Some dead some alive
And so while we are connected
she and I
By the same
Powerlessness a man has brought to us
We are not one in the same
And I hope and pray
That I never make the same mistake
Of falling for a married man
And acting on it
I’m what is called a pantser like Stephen King. I don’t outline the story ahead of time. But I do take time to stop and think or journal on where I’d like my characters to end up. Anyhow, my two characters, a woman and a man, are growing in separate places right now. The guy’s growth is far more interesting than the woman’s. In real life this normal since women mature at a younger age than men, but in writing is this ok? Should I find more balance? Should I be more deliberate about her growth? My only concern is that she will be unrealistic if I am too deliberate. Or am I over thinking and this is how characters grow in fiction.
Fiction writers, do you find this or do this intentionally. Like, give another character more spotlight? Maybe it’s her slow growth that makes him more interesting and vibrant? I’d love to hear your strategies.
From the angered deep
The water sloshes
Globs of water
Thicker than waves
Youths lift fishies by the gallon
And do gooders curl up in corners
But the untamed the uncouth
They dive in
Some make it back to the boat
Others don’t survive
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), English Author, Poet, and Literary Critic and Writer
I had been thinking about the good guy vs the bad in a collection of short stories I’ve been working on, and I was reminded that in life no human is ever pure bad or pure good. What is most important when developing my characters is that I display my characters as their true selves. Whether they are good or bad doesn’t matter. As long as I display them as true as possible, they will make the choices themselves. The truth is we all teeter between being the good guy and the bad guy. And the gray area where we can’t seem to navigate is what makes us human.
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Bad Guys -On Writing
Quote Via https://www.decision-making-solutions.com/ethics_quotes.html
“Our doctrine is, that the author and the reader should move along together in full confidence with each other.”
Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers
This quote really hit the nail on the head for me. I need confidence in my writing so that my readers are confident in my writing. The feeling like need a reason to write has been making me lose confidence in my short stories, when the truth is, even if I don’t feel like I’m saying something, in just writing about my character’s day to day activities is, for me, finding beauty in the mundane. On that thought, I may think it’s mundane, but not everyone has lived the lifestyle my characters live. Maybe some dream of the monotony from their chaotic lives. Others may have lived similar lives and relate on a level that can’t be easily explained. So hopefully, this will be a reminder to me to go confidently into what I feel is the mundane story so that my readers will feel confident to walk the story with me.
What kind of things help you regain confidence in your writing?
Writing everyday is getting easier. It’s finding what I want to say that is the challenge for me. I search and read and think and talk to people and then it hits me and I write about it until it loses it’s magic. Then I’m back where I started.
It’s not that I lack inspiration. I have overwhelming amounts of that. It’s more that I want to stand for something I believe deeply in.
How I’m feeling about my writing lately
I haven’t really been able to settle into a story I’m committed to. I’ve been jumping around different short stories hoping to find one I can snuggle into or one that makes me so uncomfortable I can’t help but think about it. I’ve been using my own life, the things I want in life, fictional ideas, etc. I just don’t really feel connected to any of them. It helps when I know what I want to say.
With all that being said, I write anyway.
Today I was having a hard time focusing. So I decided to just have fun with my writing today. I didn’t focus on a concept, or a theme. I also did not try to root my focus on anything in the background while I wrote. I just wanted my characters to basically dance in the rain. I had my wild woman show her curious silly side and my male character show his playful flirty side. It felt good to let go of all the demands for a time.
What kind of things do you do to get the words out when you can’t focus?