The Story Zone
I haven’t posted anything in two weeks and I’m happy to say there’s a good reason for that: I wrote a story. Two in fact. I mentioned in my last post that while the idea bank has remained open, every time I made a withdrawal and headed out the door, the sidewalk would open up like quicksand and down I would go, story idea and all.
It seems that just the act of writing that down hardened the ground for me. Amazing what writing can do.
Not only did I come away with two stories written and currently simmering on the final draft burner but there are currently two stories cooking away on the first draft burner. I also came up with some interesting observations.
First, I’d forgotten how much I love being in the story zone, being so up inside your head the world around you recedes into the hazy background. As I drove around [tag]Albuquerque[/tag] doing the pay-the-bills thing I found myself turning up streets for no reason and looking around to find I had no idea where I was or turning into businesses I had no reason to be at. The few people I had occasion to talk to probably thought I was on drugs. Here I was, a big silly smile on my face and I couldn’t complete a sentence, think of a coherent answer to their questions or even say “have a good day” without twisting the words around or forgetting one of them.
And I was loving every minute of it.
I got the idea for the larger of the two stories on a Tuesday. Got the first line actually, a line I later didn’t use because it was too abstract but that line opened the gates. Friday was the Fourth of July and a day off for me. I sat down before the sun rose and started typing it out. Spent all day Friday and most of Saturday writing it, completely lost in the world of my characters. I let it simmer a bit over Saturday night and tweaked it on Sunday.
Damn but I missed that feeling, crossing back and forth over the line that separates the world of the real from the world of make believe. I get that when reading a really good book but the experience is so much more intense when the make believe world is one which I am creating.
The second observation I came up with was how important it is to have writing peers. I’m not the most social person in the world. Indeed, there are those who see me as a borderline recluse and I guess I am. People make me nervous. The path that words have to travel to get from my head to my mouth is so strewn with obstacles that by the time they get there, they’re all jumbled and twisted around. When I communicate solely with the written word, the path the words take from my head to my fingertips is obstacle free with a lot of resting places along the way.
I’m thankful for [tag]Backspace[/tag] in that regard and in regard to having writing peers.
I was so happy about being in the story zone after so long a dry spell that I mentioned it, perhaps a bit maniacally, to a couple of non-writing friends here in Albuquerque. They listened to my tale, as friends will do even when you babble, and then gave me an indulgent smile that could be read as, “Oh my, is EJ off his meds?”
They just didn’t get it at all. Luckily I have friends at Backspace who understand such madness. I called one of them, the great and soon to be published [tag]A. S. King[/tag] ([Tag]The Dust of 100 Dogs[/tag], due out in Feb 2009 from Flux) and before I had completed my description of events, she was on it completely, relating her own dazed and confused up in the story zone story.
Thank the muse for peers. Thank the muse for Backspace.
Thanks, Stella. It feels real good. I hope it lasts. And I can’t wait to read Dust.
This makes me so happy, EJ. I am so glad you have found the ZONE again man! I look forward to reading these stories!
I don’t think I could live long without my own trips to The Zone (mine being photographic)…SO happy for you, my friend!