Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Friday, January 21, 2011

A task of light

It's amazingly cold today. The sky is that clear blue that makes you feel like the atmosphere has been scraped clean off the earth, and there's nothing above you but the stars and the moon and that deep, deep cold.

On the way to work this morning I heard an interview with a virtuoso violinist who is performing locally this weekend. Well. Most of an interview. The interviewer kept talking over him, and babbling on about how fascinating the things he was saying were, and then she'd play a "snippet" of his music which just served to remind you how much you'd rather be listening to him play, rather than her talk. And talk. Can you tell I've been working on my patience? Because I have.

Here's the important part: she finally got around to asking him 'what advice do you have for young musicians and their parents, just starting out?' And his answer kind of shocked me, and got me to thinking about writing.

He said "Enjoy it." I mean, that's a paraphrase. His long answer was something like "Do it because you're passionate about it, because it speaks to you and lets you speak to other people. Do it because it makes you a fuller person." And then he talked some about how there was a tiny bit of discipline involved to get over the initial unpleasant stuff, those first few years of learning to play and practicing while your family cringes politely around you, but once you're beyond that point it's just a matter of doing what you would naturally do.

At first I thought he was expressing typical British (because he's a Brit) understatement when he said "a tiny bit of discipline" but later I realized he was dead serious. That if you're having to apply huge sums of discipline to the task, if you're forcing yourself to do this every night, then what the hell are you doing? At least that's what he said to me.

That's contrary to a lot of what I've learned about writing in the last few years. Mostly because I'm not just writing, I have the day job and a busy social calendar (ha!) and I have to squeeze my writing time out increasingly smaller parts of my day. So until I'm able to more fully form my life around my writing, there will always be some element of discipline to the process. But that discipline needs to be supplemented by joy. Joy in the process, joy in the product, joy in the belief that what we're doing is making us better people. I did not enjoy writing the book I am writing right now, and I'm afraid that will show up in the final product. I'm sure it will. Whatever light there was in that work, I lost it in the scheduling.

So. I guess I'm rededicating myself to the joy of writing. Because otherwise, what the hell am I doing?

6 Comments:

At 9:44 AM , Blogger Daryl Gregory said...

You're rakin' in the big speculative fiction bucks, that's what!

I used to tell people, I don't enjoy writing, but I enjoy having written. That was flippant. I actually love when I'm in the middle of a story and things are flowing.

Now I tell people that I write because it's the hardest thing I know how to do well. I think that's true. And I also enjoy having written.

 
At 9:07 AM , Blogger tyrca said...

Thank you, I think I needed that. January is usually a very dark month for me in terms of depression and discipline, and sometimes I wonder why I'm trying to write at all.

And to think that the effort to communicate something intangible through a fiction story may actually make me a better person is uplifting.

 
At 2:41 PM , Blogger Jeffowick said...

I just finished reading 'The Horns of Ruin' and I thought it was fantastic. I especially loved your world building. One day I hope to have children and tell them grand stories and play D&D with them, and I'm sure some of the ideas from your book will make it into the worlds that I spin for them.

 
At 12:20 AM , Anonymous raul said...

just finished 'horns of ruin', i have been waiting for someone to have an adult view of religion/gods without condescension/moralization(it swings both ways) in fantasy from the new newer writers for while!

Is this a stand-alone? or will there be more stories of this world?

 
At 8:05 PM , Anonymous Ryan Martell said...

So for Christmas, my folks got me a kindle. Yesterday, while lamenting the lack of good stuff available for it, I came up with the brilliant idea of writing my good buddy, Tim (whom, I, in my horrible way haven't spoken with in years, though think about every time I pick up a book) to see if he'd looked at self publishing on the amazon store. After sending an email that bounced (rabid dogs and whatnot), I figured I would check and see if there was a kindle version of Veridon. To my joy, there was Horns of Ruin.

Just finished- well done. Looking forward to more- tell Bloody Jennifer hi for me and drop me a note. I'm currently anchor off St Thomas, enjoying my endless summer again. You guys want to escape to warmth for a week and some writing in paradise time, let me know.

 
At 9:17 PM , Blogger Comyn said...

I just finished Horns of Ruin. I loved your creation as something outside the normal templates of literature. I appreciated your setting, conflict, theology and scope. I had needed something new and different and found it in Ash.

As to a task of light, find your passion in life. I get the sense that writing is it, even if the project in question was not. It's like the teacher who leaves the classroom dedicated to the Humanities to carry on with studies in Sciences in order to find and face more issues. Some things cannot be stopped.

 

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