The Creative Act

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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) I think those who are not authors would be surprised how little we authors know about how a story will turn out.I'm reminded of the story of the famous jazz pianist,Erroll Garner,who kept playing for 10 minutes after he was signaled to stop by his manager,Martha Glaser.When she came out ten minutes later to ask why he kept playing after she told him to stop,Garner,who never learned to read music replied,"But ,I needed to see how it was going turn out." We writers often say the same thing. That's why we write...."to discover who we are."

message 2: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) Isn't that element of surprise one of the rewards of writing.I love Faulkner and can appreciate his walls filled with plots and characters, but I'm a bit of a pantser myself.

message 3: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) There's an old and widely held belief that writing a book is much like having sex.With this in mind, some enterprising cartoonist drew a cartoon of a man and woman who had evidentally just concluded a night of pleasure. The caption read.."Damn.There goes another novel!

We need more readers for this site. Therefore this slighty bawdy entry.To paraphrase the King in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn,"If that don't draw 'em in, I don't know Arkansaw."

message 4: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments I am not really a writer, but I do get inspired at times. It seems that something will come to mind and I need to write it instantly. If I don't it never comes out the same, and I can never get it right. I've only written very short stories and not many of them; I wrote as much as I learned from my grandmother once for the great grandchildren who only saw her late in her life. I would like to know how often inspiration hits and must be recorded immediately by a published author or whether the book comes fully formed in some cases.

message 5: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) Hi Betty,
For me the book often come fully formed. That is not to say that it ends up exactly as I first pictured it.I'm often surprised how differently the end product is.Revision is always crucial, or someone might say of your work what Capote said of Kerouac's,"That's not writing. That's typing."

Good luck and enjoy the process.
Joseph cavano Half-Past Nowhere.

message 6: by Dianne (new)

Dianne Sagan (diannes) I'm new here. I tend to be a combination of "set of the Pants" writing and outlines/structure.
If I'm writing nonfiction, I follow an outline, but it can be revised is research or inspiration indicates that something could be included to make the book better and more valuable to the reader.

As far as fiction goes, I do a lot in my head first so I have a pretty good idea about main characters but as I write other characters show up and things happen that I hadn't thought of at first. Sometimes I write a list of things I might want to happen and then see if it works. It's pretty organic as a process.

I can see both sides of the coin.

Dianne Sagan

message 7: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments Thanks Joseph. That's helpful and interesting.

message 8: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) A brief note(well fairly brief!) about the magic of writing.

A friend told me a story of a card game he once got into while in Vietnam. He was playing with a notorious group of big time druggies etc. who most were smart enough to avoid. Unfortunately, he was naive and liked to relax by playing cards. He was winning big until the last hand. It's a big pot and he knows he has it won since he's a card counter and knows the only card that can kill him has been played. Of course, the card shows up, and he faces the choice of calling someone a cheater or biting his tongue and getting out alive. He uses his head and lives to tell the story..

This tale eventually became my story "Comets", which is about a young white Georgia fruit picker, who doesn't want to end up pregnant like her big sister.Isn't writing a gas!

message 9: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments I think, as in life or chatting with friends, we often start out with a story about something or someone you've heard, seen or known, and even in the telling, other ideas pop into your head unexpectedly. (Maybe that explains hoaxes, I don't know). Anyway, I think the brain and especially the imagination are particularly interesting in their workings. As said before, I am a reader, not a writer as such, and now I think it is too late. I'm terrified of Alzheimer's and probably exaggerate in my own mind the mental loss of words when I want them and where I put whatever I had 5 minutes ago because of that fear. I could post a single-page story I wrote about my father coming home from the war when I was five if anyone is interested, I wrote it 2 years ago when I was 66, but wrote it as a 5-year old. I'm just wondering if there is any talent worth pursuing at this late date.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Betty, I'd love to read your story of your father's returning from the war. Talent matters far less than a desire to write and a willingness to learn from your mistakes.

Don't let insecurity stop you: Show your work!

Best regards, B. Shine

message 11: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments Thanks for the encouragement, Barbara. I'll put it in the next comment, it is really quite short.

message 12: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments Bagpipe Memories

Love them or hate them, bagpipes have always been emotional and memorable. For dancing they are happy, for funerals they are mournful. Bagpipes evoke thoughts of misty moors, fields of heather, and haunted Scottish castles. They bring out the "Scot" in people, whether ancestral or not. No other instrument moves us so completely.

My first recollection was in May 1946. I was 5 ½ years old. I’m sure that wasn’t the first time I saw pipers, I must have seen them in the parades of soldiers, sailors, and airmen that trod the streets of Vancouver during those war years, but they are a vague memory.

This particular day, my brother John and I were dressed in our best, and taken to the CNR station down on Main Street. When we got there we met more relatives than I knew I had. This day, Daddy was coming home from the war!

Hundreds, or maybe even thousands of people were jammed into and around the station in elated anticipation. Everyone had to stay back behind ropes. First came the pipers, bringing wonderful sound that filled the air until I thought there would be none left to breathe. It was so exciting to see the strange instruments, and men in kilts. Had I known the word then, I would have said "Awesome!" This was happy parade music. After the pipers came the soldiers, so many of them that I could not see Daddy, until, despite the ropes, my teen-aged aunt ran out to hug him. He didn’t recognize her at first because, when he left, she was just a kid; this was a young lady. Mommy, of course, was holding onto John and me to avoid us being crushed. People were swarming around the soldiers. I bounced up and down when I finally saw him. Everyone was crying, and I couldn’t understand why. John, only 3 yrs old, thought there was something wrong, and didn’t want to go to see Daddy; he didn’t know him. He was only 6 months old at the time our father went overseas. Every time John was asked by visitors where his Daddy was, he always answered "There!" and pointed to a picture on the wall. When finally we were able to go to Daddy, there was so much noise we could hardly hear or talk.

Much later we were all going to Grandpa and Grandma’s for a big family get-together. I told Daddy that I needed a push on the swing because I couldn’t make it go. Imagine! I lied to my father on his first day back! I was caught out on it, too. We watched home movies and he saw that I was swinging just fine on my own, and with my brother!

Since that long ago day the skirl of bagpipes has taken me on many trips down memory lane. Even now, nothing can compare to hearing them on Remembrance Day, when I am reminded of the fallen, and to honour them, and remember again that wonderful day when I was one of the lucky children who were able to welcome their father home.

by Betty Gelean
March 22, 2007

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi, Betty. Thanks for posting your story. It's a lovely remembrance. You didn't mention whether you wanted critique on this piece, so I will say only that you show an ability to tell an engaging story, and you leave the reader wanting to see more --- always a desirable outcome.
Thanks again.

message 14: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments Thanks for your comments, Barbara. This was a moment in time that obviously has left a special imprint. I used the bagpipes as a backdrop because they are so unique and powerfully intimate.
I recall when I started school in 1946 the single parent families were all the result of war.

message 15: by Chester (new)

Chester | 1 comments Nice story, Betty. If you have aspirations of writing a novel, sit down at the computer and go to it. I gather you're only 68. Hey, my first mystery was published when I was 76. Today is my 83rd birthday, and I now have four books in one series published and the first of a new series coming out in April. It's never too late to start. You just have to make up your mind and do it. Check my profile for info on my books.

message 16: by Betty (new)

Betty (nightreader) | 7 comments Thanks for the encouragement, Chester. I did check your profile and your books look like my favourite genre, and interesting! I'll be sure to add them to my list of "wannareads". (I got tired of saying to-read list). I've been enjoying doing reviews and I think that's put the thought of writing forward in my mind.

message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 1 comments Mod
Lots of opportunity to post your writings as aspiring writers on Gather.Com. COmmunity there is very supportive, while some groups within Gather are more detail oriented about critiquing, you can find readers who will do both, encourage and critique.

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