Why must Sherman Alexie rule the world? Truly? Why must I read his short stories and books and feel so infinitesimally SMALL. Why do his characters have so many layers? Why must his themes drip off the page so easily? Why, Sherman!? Why!?
Writing while simultaneously reading works of genius is a scary activity. It creates the crazy thoughts. Will I be good enough (no)? Will I have moments of genius (no)? Will my heater ever come on so my feet don’t fall off (no)?
Sherman Alexie’s short stories make me feel like he knows exactly what he’s doing and planned it alllllll from the start. His sentences and paragraphs make me feel like words have power. Like there is a huge orchestra in his head, inside of a gorgeous opera house and all the instruments are playing together in this big, swelling, major crescendo and during this moment he decides to have a cup of coffee and write a perfect short story.
In my head, when I write, there is a banjo playing in a bar and it smells like Milwaukee’s Best. But that’s OKAY. Because sometimes there is a fiddle and a guitar and sometimes, when I’m working really hard there is a stage in the back of that bar and a girl in a cowboy boots is singing along and the whole crowd is clapping (I live in Rhode Island so I have no idea why i am giving you a bluegrass reference). ANYWAY, what I am saying is that writing is hard and every craft book will tell you to sit down and just do it. That doing it is half of the battle. And it’s true. Getting to your desk, sitting down and grappling with your art is hard.
I can’t remember where I read this, I think it was in a screenwriting magazine but a screenwriter or someone fabulous said,”Being a writer is like having really hard trigonometry homework for the rest of your life.” True story. We have trouble sitting down at the desk to write because our art comes from within us, it’s tied to our emotional capacity for the day. If we sit down and “just get to it” then we’re asking ourselves to be ripped open, are we not? Aren’t we in the business of ripping our characters open? So, in turn, I suppose we go through small tragedies every time we sit down at our desks.
Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee. Did I really make a bluegrass reference?
Yes, yes more coffee is good…that’s it, Rebecca. Stand up, walk away from the computer. Have more coffee. No bloggie before coffee.