Sunday, 26 October 2014

Keep Writing - Writing exercise



Well, today I just want to apologise for not posting much, but this morning I woke up with a feeling that I should write something. Inspired by a snippet of the movie "Finding Forrester", I knew precisely how I should start...

Tap the keyboard until the words find you. That’s right, writers. Tap, tap, tap. Don’t censor, correct. Let the words flow. If they are nonsense, perhaps they will make some sense later, like some obscure jigsaw puzzle that takes shape over time, and only patience will see its end.

Tap, tap, tap.

I once watched a movie on a foreign channel about a man with a violin. As far as I remember he had lots of difficulties. He had to fight to be able to play to audiences. He had to fight in a brawling world around him to be heard,but it was what he imparted with his mouth, and not his violin that was most haunting:

“Most people die with their music still inside of them”

Made me think of every penniless busker on the side of the street corners, pouring out their souls into their guitars, and yet these buskers were closer to singing their song than I, yet can you somehow hear the rhythm of this typing as my own music?

Tap, tap, tap.

I also heard a wise lady, saying that what we say is only 15% of what we feel and think comes to the surface in our actions and words. 85% of what is within lies, like a huge ice cap, under the surface, never to emerge. Makes me wonder how much turmoil there is underneath, or how much potential resides there, dormant, and waiting for its activation. Makes me wonder, as I write- tapping away, waiting for some inspiration to type. Makes me wonder about that 85% in me.

Tap. tap, tap.

So when does the story come, and from where? What ideas are waiting for fruition? What lies dormant within? Or is it from somewhere without? Is this the story of a farm or city? Here, far away or only the attic of the imagination? A review of the worlds best sneakers or mp3 player? Is it merely enough to type empty words and feelings, without some final defined destination, and If I meander does that mean I am lost? Or does it just mean I am not making any progress?
John Mayer is right. His song says:

“Take all of your wasted honour,
every little past frustration,
take all of your so-called problems,
better put them in quotations...
say what you need to say”

Is that not the anthem of every writer who ever had something to say? Chronicle feelings, ascertain meanings, be specific about your character’s or your reality; Quantify, qualify each emotion, allow your heart to feel it once more, even if only once for the painfulness of it.

Tap. tap. tap.

Keep tapping, writer until it all makes sense- with each punctuation mark and full stop, each comma and carefully worded inflection. Change direction, pause for effect and reflection. Craft or paint bold brush strokes with each word, or weave with a smaller brush a more intimate and intricate tale.

Point out, Pontificate, Educate,
Politicise or Fable-tell,
Intrigue, Entice or demonstrate,
speak truth or lies as well.

Tap hard writer, tap intentionally! Speak the whirlwind into a story. Within each character, find the 85% below the surface. Dare to dream that their lives will be like the violinist- That their dreams will drown out the drunken stupor and the prevailing sadness of the lives around them. Paint the tragic figure, writer! The seductress and the shadowy figure lost in pain in the rain at the end of that dreary dock! Write the happy and naive friend, the open hearted stranger that seems to fill the page alone with his spirit. Write about things that matter, and people that matter, and the million steps that walk them to their manifest destiny. Or speak of the sombreness of their failure, the stark, broken depths of their despair. Keep writing. Or maybe you should write about the bread and butter, the putty of life that fills the cracks. The boredom and the visionless, the restless nature of life, and the longing for a vision that fulfills.

Write about the current state of the currency in Guatemala,
or about Kings and Queens  and the life cycle of a koala
Or about the chances of getting struck by lightning
Whatever you do, writer, don’t stop writing.

Tap. tap. tap.

Don’t.
Stop.
Writing.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Living the irrational dream

Today I've decided to share a few of my musings with you. Although, undoubtedly, this story belongs on another website, I have decided to share it here as a writing exercise in journaling my thoughts. 
The journey of a thousand miles...

Have you ever wanted something very deeply, despite knowing full well the unpleasantness of reality? Have you ever dreamed of something that is so far out of your grasp that only the eyes of faith can see it? Perhaps you, like me, have reached out towards something which, in the corner of your mind is a ill-considered idea- destined not to work, and designed only to frustrate and vex,  and yet the seed of the dream is there and you can’t shake it, like some errant irritating splinter unshakable from your mind. My thoughts are like that lately, please allow me to explain...

When we lived in Queensland we had four children- Sophie, Faith, Elijah and Lily. We had lived in Queensland, in what turned out  to be a working holiday adventure that lasted for about two years.  We lived on the Gold Coast which was great for the children for a time- the beaches, the theme parks  and the glorious sunshine; and while it was hard to make friends, it was certainly a new experience, one which we eagerly lapped up together. We left, feeling that we longed for home in Launceston- to the familiar parks and people that we loved. It had been hard to find work on the Gold Coast, and I had worked a few jobs before staying as a receptionist for a Christian school for 8 months. Sadly because of the terribly stressful nature of that job (which I don’t want to go into here)   I felt I needed to resign. Not long after I did, we began the arduous task of packing up our family, buying a trailer, loading it up, and returning home to Tasmania.
On the way home we travelled down the coast of Queensland, with every few hours stopping at a toilet break or a free wifi break at McDonalds. We were travelling at the time of the Global Financial Crisis and at that time, thankfully our government had helped finance our trip in the form of a stimulus package for all families. With our budget such as it was, we had enough money to get to Tasmania, and we surmised with not terribly much to spare after various motels, food, fuel and tickets on board the Spirit of Tasmania (a cruise going from mainland Melbourne  to Tasmania). When we finally arrived in Tasmania, we had a total of $46 in the bank, but at least somewhere to stay. We planned a short holiday afterwards  in Launceston, where we enjoyed the hospitality there, and the adventure of camping. Because my wife was heavily pregnant at the time, we had to find some more permanent accommodation, which we thankfully did in the form of a rental in Launceston.

Fast forward 5 years, and I have never forgot the adventure of that trip. The open road, the camping spots, learning more of the geography of my incredible country, and most importantly, the beautiful people in the motels we met. I also remember arguing about money, being annoyed at the constant requests for food from the children and the infighting that commonly happens in all families, but especially in ones where there is friction caused by the uncertainty of moving and irregular routines! We now have 7 children, raging from 11 to 1 year old. They are smart, beautiful, inquisitive little children and are reasonably settled in their routine. Our last baby was a miracle, with mum being on life support having her, so to put it mildly, we’ve had quite a few massive changes in our family over the years.  So why am I telling you this?

Because of my deluded dream. I want to buy a school bus, strip it and convert it into a Camper van and go all across Australia- this time for a very long holiday. There are several reasons I  know this dream is insane, and I’ll tell you why:

Firstly the money- Just to buy the camper itself will cost $5000 at least, without even paying for the things we need to put in it, money we don’t have, failing some kind of financial miracle! Secondly, my own failings.  I struggle with any technical skills required to do anything practical... Heck, it takes me ten minutes to figure out how to unfold a pram, let alone anything plumbing or mechanical, or electrical related! Thirdly, what do we do with our house? This imaginary holiday only works if we have somewhere to return to! I really want a long holiday, but my children will need some stability after a time to return to. In addition to this, the Fourth problem will be personalities -   I have two children at least, who long for the wide open spaces! Activities WILL be planned on each step of the way, but we will need lots to do to keep these little ones from being bored. Fifthly, money again. If we choose to occasionally stay at a motel or go to a zoo or a museum here or there, we will need money on the way! I currently don’t have a job, and that is something even harder to find on the road, between places, and finally, I have no licence, let alone a Bus licence, so the driving would be up to Christina, placing an enormous amount of energy on her.

These are pretty big obstacles, so why do I find myself looking on websites for buses? I don’t even know. Perhaps there is something wrong with me, but I can’t shake the dream. Maybe I’m stuck in a rut and need a change? I don’t know, but I look at buses like some kind of a freak still wanting to find some way of doing it! Some way of making a change.  As I look at the latest 1985 Volvo , let me ask you?

Am I completely insane to want something I can’t have? And If I can have it, will it be anything like the way I imagined it? And how is it that a dream can deny me of sleep? Does anyone else know how I feel or am I living the irrational dream on my own?

begins with a single step?
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