blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, writing process

Doing the thing

microphone-boy_Free-Photos
Free-Photos via pixabay

Keep writing. The world needs your story.
Max Kirin

 

What do you do when nothing seems worth doing?

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2018/04/03/do-the-thing-an-faq-about-doing-the-thing/

I’m a big fan of Chuck Wendig and read his emails every week as he photographs tiny things, rants about politics, and talks writing, in very colourful words. In the post above he tackles the deep despair that can overcome you when the wanton f*ckery of the world seems too much to bear. (his phrase, not mine)

Creatives, especially at the early stages when it’s hard slog for little reward, can be tempted to give up. What’s the point we say, crying into our gin/ice cream tub/family pack of snacks? Nobody’s listening, it’s no good anyhow, the world is going to hell in a handcart and I’m powerless to stop it. My little story/song/picture/recipe/whatever is pretty useless as ammunition in this fight.

Chuck says, just do it anyway.

There’s someone out there for whom your thing is exactly what they need, right now. That could be entertainment, distraction, tools to do a job or navigate a heartbreak. They might see themselves in your thing and be inspired.

I once wrote a scene in which two gay men argued about being their authentic selves. A woman sent me a comment saying she had wept, thinking back to the compromises she made in earlier life, and that she felt like it was her story on the screen.

Emotional connection transcends time, gender, place. There is no better feeling for an author than knowing your words touched a chord with a real person.

You never know what people will take away from your work. Once it’s out there, it doesn’t belong to just you any more. Like a newly minted adult, it must take on the world on its own merits and find its place.

So enjoy Chuck’s take on writing, and keep creating. Don’t deprive the world of what you have to say, just because you got discouraged. Take a break and come back stronger. The world is awful, and it’s also amazing.
Be part of the amazing.

 

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Yellow

poem #5 in the colour series

daisy centre
ekamelev via pixabay

listen: 

Cheerful daisies turn their faces upwards.
Big sun, bright heart reflected in egg yolk centres
And mirrored in the humblest things.
Life energy lights the sky
and falls to earth, yet not diminished.
Instead its littler twin multiplies its force.

As above, so below.
For what I see, I can be.
And though I am ever so small
the universe
is contained within me.

 

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Doldrums

rowboat-alone_Quangpraha
Quangpraha via pixabay

listen here: 

The old storm has abated and the next, not yet arrived.
Did I throw out my oars in despair, or were they ripped from aching hands at the height of the tempest?
Adrift, bearing unknown, the lighthouse blind and dark,
clouds obscure the sun and hide the stars alike.

I drift

rudder splintered, compass shattered.
I hold my breath, not daring to inhale the leaden, empty air
no land in sight.
The waters shift below, yet no kindly current arises, lost here in the doldrums of life.

A heartbeat, then another, the only timepiece in this forgotten space
an unreliable machine, prone to error
incapable of solving the riddle, the longitude of my soul.
Aimless, unmapped blankness branded on my skin.

disconnected

drifting

 

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Timeworn

 

padlock-hinge_KRiemer
KRiemer via pixabay

Listen: 

She checks the bedroom one last time, gaze sweeping around the walls, into each corner, over the floor. The desk is empty, bed stripped and bare, walls blank, almost like a prison cell.

She remembers watching some TV drama, the new inmate arriving in an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit with a small pile of possessions in her arms. There was fear in her eyes, anxiety for the future and regret for the past. But there was nowhere else to go. She had to enter, and face whatever lay ahead.

Now it is her turn to move on. She pulls the door close, without shutting it completely.

“You could stay, you know.” He stands by the window, staring out at the light rain pattering on the rose bushes outside. His hands are jammed in the pockets of his sweatpants. He never does that normally. Through the fabric she sees his fists, balled up and tense. Her stomach twists. Those hands, like that mouth with its thin upper and generous lower lip, are still capable of so many things.

“We could—”
“I’m all set to go.” She forces her mouth into a smile, huffs out a breath. She uncurls her own fist, nails dug into the soft flesh. “This is yours.”

The key sits on her palm, its gleam dulled by time and repetition. If she took her hand away, would it float there in the air between them, given but not taken?

His jaw tightens and he presses his lips together. She does not offer comfort. Her hand remains steady, not shaking, as she feared it might. She looks away from his face and down at the key, examining the tiny nicks and scratches, an unwritten history.

New objects have crisp, sharp boundaries that separate them from their environment. But over time, a thing rubs and chafes against the outside and loses its shape. Eventually the edges are so worn that its original form is forgotten under the onslaught of a thousand tiny collisions with the world. Nothing survives life intact, and no-one knows where the lost pieces go.

She steps forward and sets the key on the kitchen table. He glances at it and then directly at her. She gazes back, breathing deliberately, consciously slowing her racing pulse. Nothing stops time. It runs fast or slow, but it wears everything down.

“I’m sorry,” he says finally. She notes with detachment that his eyes are still the startling blue of a summer sky that knows no grey.
“Me too,” she replies, nodding.

She slings her bag over her shoulder and walks out, away, closing the door softly behind her.

blog, writing process

Exposing the real you

hiding girl hand_Pexels
pexels

 

I was afraid to publish my short story.

Not because it was risqué or difficult. I felt it was a great piece; honest and true. And that was the problem. It was too honest, too raw, and reading it over felt like dissecting a part of my heart and leaving it open for anyone to see.

This piece was not meant to be confessional. I wrote it for a competition, and I missed the deadline. As we all do, I drew on experience as well as imagination to create my world. Somehow what was normally hidden sneaked past my filters and on to the (virtual) page .

It sat on my hard drive for a while.

I considered, and rejected, the idea of a pseudonym.

How could I send this off to be judged, but hesitate to post it on my own media?

The difference was anonymity.

It was too close to uncomfortable truths. I usually bury those truths within the lie of fiction, but here they were all too visible. I hesitated to expose so much tender flesh.

Many writers know this feeling. What if someone who knows me reads it?

I wanted my stories to be strong. But I didn’t want to have to write them with my own blood.

I wrote about this on my blog while trying to find my courage.

Feel the fear

One day, heart pounding and mouth dry, I attached the story to a competition entry and pressed send. I felt sick.

Months later, heart pounding and mouth dry, I read that prize-winning story to an audience of writers. Many told me how they had been drawn in by the emotions portrayed.

The dilemma we face as artists is the need to be authentic, to bleed onto the page, while retaining  our emotional integrity. Deep connection with a story is visceral recognition, a punch in the gut that says yes more eloquently than any words could. And it is the drop of our blood, the moment of vulnerability, that makes the moment true.

So now, months and many thousands of words later, I am braver with weaving my true experiences and emotions into my stories. And  when readers message me to say yes, I felt that too, there is no better reward.

Be brave

I don’t suggest you should spill every secret on the page. But some experiences have lessons worth sharing. Show us a glimpse of your soul, show us what it is to be human.

When you hesitate because it feels too personal, write it.
When you pause because it’s still a little raw, write it.
When your heart pounds at the sight of those true words, write it.

Someone needs to read your words and feel understood.

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Under a crying sky

red tulip petals
AnnaD via pixabay

listen to this poem: 

See there, the sunny uplands
of what could be
see here, the barren wasteland
of what came to be

the space between, under a crying sky
is brim full of splintered dreams, of lost hopes
and bitter grains of disappointment
of what will never be