With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
More ideas about my possible novel come to me when I’m not writing. Especially at work. Walking the stairs, walking the halls of the SNF skilled nursing facility, seeing a resident’s room and all their life now contained in 9 x 11 space, listening to the nurses and aides at the nursing station talk about residents, talk to residents, complain about their home life… all this stimuli floods my brain and with a net I grab the pertinent details.
But for what? I have pages and pages of inspiration and no set plan or routine to tackle them. Every once in a while (never been wild about that phrase) look over the ideas and see if I still care. Many have made it past ten years.
Ten years of filling a shopping cart and delaying the trip to the checkout. No no, I’m not ready to be rung up yet. I found the cookie aisle but they aren’t the right cookies. Not the cookies I want. Sure, these are okay, I mean, they taste good but I’m in the mood for these particular ones. And things won’t lock into place until I capture these cookies again.
Even if it is momentous. Inside me there are fragments. Little pieces that reassure me. I want them to come together but I have been unable to make the pieces fit. And I’m not for jamming pieces into holes forcing the fit. That is the contrivance often infuriating me. Wild connections of these pieces without reasonable explanation.
And these particular cookies, pieces are special to me. I hold onto such ideas because I know there is something there. I just haven’t found the click. Or the hook, as Alec Baldwin spoke about on Inside the Actor’s Studio, when he got a script the most important thing was finding the motivation, the drive of his character, the hook that unlocked how he could play it. Or like the DHM Deep Hidden Meaning that Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards from the band Chic tried to find every song they wrote, as Rodgers said in his autobiography Le Freak. It wasn’t about writing clever lyrics, it was going deeper, using the words to identify a larger theme. And they didn’t stop until they found it.
Two offbeat examples, but the focused drive these men had for success made them wildly successful. It was the drive at all costs, the ambition to succeed, the running right through walls intensity that defined who they wanted to be.
I found the click for my NYC book. It really did lock into place. And with a white hot fire coursing through me it may have been something. Outside of the book there was fear and it proved stronger. Maybe looking at the ideas I have and trying them out is better than mumbling how they don’t fit.
Struggle is the concentrated act of creation. When you’re in it, thinking and juicing, words flying out and then stopping abruptly, it’s staying in the mindset, not watching TV or eating or going for a walk but staying with it, thinking how the picture comes together in your head and how to translate that to the screen front of you.
What happens is life. Unless it is a true concentration, pre-scheduled, something will come in and say, okay, well, you’ve got to put that aside and change gears because you have responsibilities. And are suddenly jolted out of your struggling reverie. And back into the land of the Have To. I have to do this now and there’s never enough time in the day. And then I get tired.
It’s more exhausting to get out and try to get back in. In fact, it’s futile. The person you were even a few minutes ago, when it was cooking, and suddenly got pulled away to do something… no longer exists.