“What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed, and what if in your dream you went to heaven and there you plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if when you awoke you had that flower in your hand? Ah, what then?”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sometimes I try to push my finger through the palm of my hand. Every time I do this I question the reality of my surroundings, and the answer to that question depends on whether or not my finger passes through my hand. If it doesn’t, it means that I’m bound by laws of physics and biology; that I’m standing in this three-dimensional place that we refer to as “waking life.” But if my finger does pass through, it means that I could float off the earth if I wanted to, and soar over cities and mountains and valleys and among stars. It means that I could walk through walls or teleport to different locations or run at the speed of light. It means that I could compose symphonies, paint photo-realistic portraits straight from my imagination, or change the color of the sky at will. In other words, when I manage to push my finger through my palm and it comes out of the back of my hand, I know that I’m dreaming, and suddenly anything is possible.
Continue reading “Oneironautics: Exploring Lucid Dreams”
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”
— Red Haircrow
Beginnings are always the hardest. Sitting at your computer, chasing that perfect opening line across your mindscape, searching, constantly searching. In what lair is it hidden? In what vault is it kept? In what forge is it created? And where are these places located? The mind is a strange realm, indeed; there’s so much uncharted territory that has yet to be discovered. Continue reading “The Writer’s High”
“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Show-don’t-tell is bullshit.
Now, before a lynch mob of angry keyboard warriors attempts to verbally slay me, let’s all calm down and establish a context. Continue reading “Show-Don’t-Tell Is Bullshit!”
“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.”
— Grant Morrison
All right, David, brings us up to speed:
By now you may have the activity-part of writing down, but maybe you feel you are still missing a kind of you-ness; a recognizable voice with enough originality to stand on its own. You look, and you look, and there seems to be nothing ‘you’ – no truth to speak, no solid ground to kick off from – only mush and mist.
Have you not found your artistic voice yet? Are you uncertain you ever will? You are not alone in having these thoughts.
Today, Casper has two urgent questions for you:
- Is it important for you that you find your voice?
- Why or why not?
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 5: Death of Ideas”
“Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”
— Meg Rosoff
Hark! David Kleinsteuber recounts Chapter the Third!:
“I don’t have the qualities necessary for writing; neither the talent, nor the inner energy, nor the feel for words. As such, I am not a writer, and there’s no point in my trying to write.
Many of us who write or aspire to write have from time to time felt something like this. It’s a not particularly encouraging, blocky kind of thought. So: what to do?
In part 3 of Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist, our editor Casper tackles talent, practice, and the roles they play in your productivity.
Also: are you a writer, or are you someone who writes?”
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 4: Choir of Voices”
“Writing is really just a matter of writing a lot, writing consistently and having faith that you’ll continue to get better and better. Sometimes, people think that if they don’t display great talent and have some success right away, they won’t succeed. But writing is about struggling through and learning and finding out what it is about writing itself that you really love.”
— Laura Kasischke
Rapidly recapping essay #2 with David Kleinsteuber:
Stephen King tells you to imagine there is a muse in your basement. A grumpy, cigar-smoking muse with little wings, who only on choice occasions, when it pleases him, doles out that good inspiration-stuff. How do you depend on someone (or something) that seems so inherently fickle in nature—yet on whom you are at the same time so necessarily dependent? How do you relate to him, treat him?
In the second outing of Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist, Casper Rudolph talks about inspiration: what it is, where to find it if you feel you cannot find any, and how to relate to it in a way that will actually get you writing.
Also pertinent: can you live without caffeine?
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 3: Talent and Practice”
“[S]topping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
— Stephen King
Let’s recap last essay with my esteemed colleague, David Kleinsteuber:
If we describe the phenomenon of writer’s block as “something that blocks an artist off from creating art”, then where could we locate the source of the blockage? And, perhaps more urgently, what can the artist do about it?
In this brand new Writer’s Block series, we join our editor Casper as he tackles a different facet of the phenomenon of writer’s block each article, while in the meantime he makes the argument that writer’s block does not in fact exist. Casper stresses that this statement is not an imposition, but rather a provocation for artists to pose questions about their creative process.
The first question being: why do you write?
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 2: Inspired by Spirit”