Originally published January 18, 2021
My thoughts were pretty murky and muddy this past week. Remember, I’ll be online in the comments for the next hour. I’d love to continue the conversation with you. If you have anything to add, a counterpoint, a question -- post it :)
- Haruki Murakami for the New Yorker in 2008: There’s a danger to being naturally talented (Keep reading: my highlights from the article)
- “I don’t cook brik at home because I think longing is an important part of loving” — Sarah Souli in NYT Travel via Sanaë Lemoine.
- The first 5k of the run is always hardest
- Expression is compression by David Perell via Dense Discovery issue #120
- Feeling does and does not equal the truth
- Stephen King: writing is like sweeping the floor (from On Writing)
- Adaptation — it might not show at the end, it can just be a way into the story (via Caitlin Kunkel’s excellent workshop)
- When outlining, consider making emotional maps AND examine where personal and communal desire overlap or separate (from Scott Cheshire’s craft talk for The Resort)
- Dialogue is just the tip of the iceberg — Lisa D'Amour on the Write Your Screenplay Podcast
How is this connected?
1 & 6: The Danger of being talented and Writing as sweeping
Murakami says, because he isn't naturally talented he’s had to get good at tapping the creative well. King says he likes thinking about writing as sweeping. Hearing this is relieving: I can sweep. I can chip away.
2 & 3: Longing and The first 5k of the run is always hardest
Before I started running I thought that eventually the beginning of a run would get easier. And then, in my early runs, I longed for the future when I would be a ‘real’ runner. But now, years into running at least once a week, the first 5k of my run is almost always the hardest part for me. My body is slow, heavy, and feels like it has forgotten how to run. I feel like an idiot. I keep going. Then, when I’m at three miles or so, I don’t care so much. My body is warmed up and relaxed. My brain is settled. I can run for another 5k+ and I feel better. I’m working on accepting this rather than being irritated by it.
8 & 10: Emotional maps and Dialogue is the tip of the iceberg
My characters, if I want them to seem realistic as humans -- they can’t always say what they feel. What do people say when they’re thinking about something else? How do they feel and how is that shifting their conversations? I know a lot of the action that’s going to happen in my story. But what would it look like if I made an emotional outline?
9 & 5: Personal & communal desire and Truth
Communities mostly desire to be good -- though they may define it differently. A communal desire for something can go sideways, though. The desire to “be good” is so strong that it can shellac right over the truth. Which brings me to a Martin Luther King, Jr., quote that isn’t as widely shared: “Large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” So if a white community says they desire to be good, but they refuse to break their status quo that benefits from racism -- how are they good?
Let’s wade into the mud together.