Friday, June 15, 2007

Bags of Bones

Yesterday I didn't get any writing done. There were roadworks in front of my window, I missed my early morning writing slot, it was too noisy and smelly to keep the window open, the day was muggy, I was cross all day. But mainly I had no idea how to write the last bit. Something didn't sit right. I went to buy a new birdcage (it's very pretty) and thought through all sorts of scenarios to end the story with, and then I gave up and tried to do my painting, which didn't work either, and in the end I just read a book. "Bag of Bones", Stephen King. This morning I still didn't quite know how to write, and decided to break my rules and finish reading the book. I had a feeling that reading someone else's end to a ghost story might help me write mine. - That turned out to be true... the book seems to be (among other things) about writer's block. There's a quote, early on, saying that compared to any living person even the best-written fictional character is but a bag of bones. And in the course of the book one gets the idea that it isn't quite that simple, that anyone can feel like a bag of bones sometimes, and that sometimes bags of bones matter a great deal. And towards the end, the author in the book has a moment regretting all the horrible things he has made happen to his characters just because it was convenient to the plot. - That's when I realised: that is what is amiss. I really do care about these people I've written. I put them through the mill, and now I find myself imagining convenient endings in which they'll be broken and crushed and come to a sticky end just because it would be neat, and I thought that's the main thing - even though it feels wrong. Everybody loves a grim ending. You got to be ready to be mean, right? In fact, it's satisfying, isn't it, bringing things you made up to a definite end. But you also got to keep a tab on what you're actually saying about the world. Sometimes good things do happen. In life, and in good stories, too. Like when Pinoccio gets strung up on a tree because the author got fed up with him, and then finds he's not quite dead after all because the readers complained that it's not on to kill the boy off like that - he's GOT to become a real boy, what sort of a rubbish story would it be otherwise???
I mentally shook myself like a wet dog and blinked and thought: woof, I better get working on this properly. These little imaginary guys really need my help! Let's see if there is a way for them to get out of this mess.
Then I got writing, and I think I'm back on track. I think there's hope after all.

Anyway. I think I get to have a big brunch of some sort before painting.


Fr√łydis said...

Hm. I tried to send you an e-mail but it seems like there's something wrong. And I don't know when I'll have internet access again. :/

Viviane Schwarz said...

Yes, something seems to be amiss with my email... I'm just trying to sort it out with the provider. What a bother!