Becoming a writer…finding the music in the words


How do you write?

We writers are an eclectic group of individuals…we are a breed whose writing habits contain very individual quirks, strange eccentricities and superstitions. However, just as individual as our writing habits tend to be, so the same could be said for the types of writing that we do. I have just finished reading an article in The Huffington Post about the writing habits of famous authors. It constantly fascinates me to take a glimpse into the the minds of other writers. This article led me to examine my own writing habits. I realize that though every writer’s habits may involve some form of eccentricity, they are vital to the way our minds process our thoughts into words.

For myself, I find that each form of writing that I undertake has a different quirk to it. When I write poetry, I do not think and I do not plan. I put pen, sometimes even a pencil and have even been known to use lipstick, to a writing surface whether that be paper, tissue, or cardboard and I just feel the words flowing through me out into the form of a poem. My poetry is the pure and raw element of my writing genres. All of the emotions that seem so inexplicable to me make sense when I use the outlet of poetry to understand them. I always write longhand when I write my poetry. I never edit any of my poems. Just like emotions are not tangible and often inexplicable, poetry needs to have a hint of the mysterious and surreal about it.

When I work on my stories though,whether it be short stories or whether it be the latest work in progress, I tend to develop eccentricities peculiar to each story. Sometimes, the story I am working on calls for writing in complete silence with all distraction turned off. Other times I find that a story may have a specific theme music to it and then write to the accompaniment of that particular music. At the moment, the work in progress is a little wild and surreal and suspends reality. As such it cannot be written in silence. The passionate compositions of Tchaikovsky seem to be the underlying theme to this work: in particular The Fantasy Overture from Romeo and Juliet. There is something transcendent and inspirational about the works of the classic composers.

The Fantasy Overture builds slowly and very quietly and then suddenly starts building into a passionate crescendo of resounding sound. When I play this music and close my eyes, I am transported to a deserted beach. I am staring out at an ocean and there is a storm building in the horizon. I watch as the waves slowly ebb and flow and lap onto my feet. As the sky turns violet with the storm’s passion, I hear the steady rumble of thunder echo through distant skies. I feel like I am drawn in by this storm. I know I should walk away. I know that there is danger ahead but I am hypnotized by the paradox of a quiet sea being stirred by a force of nature greater than it and greater than I. Then the storm breaks. The lightning forks all around me, there is a crashing of waves  and it is now to late for me to run. The storm is here and I am no longer an individual but I have become one with the raging ocean around me and the wrathful skies above me. The terrible power of this storm has transfixed me. The storm continues for what seems like hours. Time seems to have been swelled into a vacuum of divine power and all the elements seem all at once frozen and volatile in the grip of this incredible natural phenomenon. Then the storm dies down as quickly as it started. The ocean is once more calm and continuing in its ebbs and flows. The creatures that seemed to be riding the waves and crashing into the beach have disappeared. The sun breaks out amidst the bruised sky and warmth flows though my pores. The iridescent swirls of color mark the shadow of a rainbow. I open my eyes, the quiet is intense after the battle in the skies. The last notes of the overture has come to an end. I realize time has moved forward again and my small vacuum of imagination has captured another part of my heart. I have written another chapter in my story and I have lived another lifetime in the vacuum of a storm of music and imagination. I read over what I have written and do not quite know where the words have come. Were the words there in the bruised and broken sky waiting to fall onto my page as the rain crashed down from the torn clouds? Sometimes I never come to realize the answer to my question. All I know is that for a moment that seemed to drag on for a lifetime, I entered another world. I entered the world as an observer and as a character. I left my house and flew across the skies riding the forked lightning and being one with the words, the music, the air and the water.

I wonder if Tchaikovsky witnessed a raging storm over a black ocean when he composed the inimitable music of The Fantasy Overture. I like to believe he did. I like to believe that his music took him to new parts of his heart and soul.

To be a writer, you need to be honest. Sometimes the most difficult thing is to be honest with yourself and leave all pretensions of the superficial behind. To connect with your story and to find the words to describe imagined worlds and inexplicable emotions, you need to be able to tap into the unchartered parts of your imagination and your heart. Sometimes you need other forms of inspiration to unlock those stories. We writers are story tellers but first we are observers and artists. We are musicians with words. We are painters and our canvas is our emotions, our easels are our imaginations.

What inspires you to write? What moves you to put those first words on the page? What holds you enthralled through all the words until the last sentence? What eccentricities and superstitions allow you to leave the world of the real and enter the world where a rainbow can be a color of a path into another realm or where creatures can bridle the ocean waves and ride a race against time? What helps you realize the Tchaikovsky and the Shakespeare in you to become the scribe that is the truest part of you? What inspires your words?

All rights reserved © Kim Koning 2010

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