Sunday, October 30, 2005

Out of focus

I am really struggling with my writing right now, and I don't know why. I've been given a great story to tell, thanks to dear Walter, so all I have to do is create more depth for events and characters than I was given. It sounded easy when I started. Creating is what I do best. With a framework of real people and events, plus knowing Walter as I did, parts of the story should have fallen into place better than they have so far. I think I'm overwhelmed by the whole thing, often feeling unworthy of the whole project.

In my mind, it boils down to two main hurdles, one having to do with the friendship I had with Walter, and the other having to do with my own life at this place in time.

Regarding the friendship, I feel that whatever I write - whatever I create to fill in gaps or make the story more readable - needs to be true to Walter, to the way he lived his life and the times in which he lived. I have too much angst about this, I know. If I wanted to be absolutely true to Walter's story, I'd just publish his letters and be done with it. Let whoever reads them fill in whatever he/she wants. That may come later, but what I feel should be done (and I think Walter would've liked this idea better) is to create a fictional story loosely based on his life.

Again, that sounds so easy - especially since some of the very best parts of the tale are true, and all I have to do is beef them up a bit. I was given a great framework, but whenever I go off on a writing tangent, creating characters and situations, I get caught up in what Walter would've thought about the whole thing.

Now that I see my problem written down, it makes it seem even sillier. I'm writing fiction based on fact, so I can do whatever I damn well please, go off on as many tangents as I want. What's holding me back?

The second problem stems from my own scattered thought patterns at the moment. I'm very busy at work, there's a big fund-raiser coming up for a local theatre of which I'm a board member, I have got to get my living room and dining room painted before Thanksgiving (it's a goal and I mean to keep it - bought the paint yesterday), and - well - the list goes on. I've started getting up at 5am and writing until 6:30, and that works well for me. Unless I'm on the road (last week Vancouver, this week Raleigh).

Yes, scattered is the only way to describe it. I have at least 7 potential stories and one play rattling around in my head right now, in addition to Walter's story. I flit a little here, I flit a little there - feeling that I need to write what I feel I need to write at the moment. Well, as you can imagine, that's getting me nowhere on any of it. I used to laugh about adult ADD, but that's the only way I can describe my life and motivation right now.

So what I need is focus for my imagination (thanks, Mark Twain). I need to move everything to the side (at least between 5-6:30am) and stick to Walter's story. Even when I'm in Raleigh. Or wherever. Wish I could use my nose like a camera lense and twist it until my brain became sharp and clear. Arrgh!

No comments: