Who is Writing Whom?

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Migrating cranes at Point Mallard, Alabama.

A few days back I was busy on my back porch working on a novel that I’ve been “working” on for years! I had gotten to a particular scene that was set, as it were, in my mind. My female protagonist climbs into an attic. She’s looking for a computer. She doesn’t want to go into the attic. She remembers the attic from years back as a musty, dark, nasty place. She pulls down the attic ladder and climbs up. When she pokes her head into the attic space, she gasps.

Now at this point, I had it in mind to show the attic as indeed a nasty dirty spider web infested space, but when she flips the light switch, the attic is quite different. It is a well-furnished room, small but clean with bright walls, a small bed and nightstand on one side and a painted chest of drawers and  mirror on the other.

This neatly apportioned room inserted itself into my mind. It simply happened. I had not “planned” to write it as such. And even more interesting is that the change–from a dreary attic full of scratchy insulation and haphazard wiring to a neatly painted furnished room–works better for the overall narrative. In short, for the moment, the story wrote itself. It brought to mind lines from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam–

And strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot

Some could articulate, while others not:

And suddenly one more Impatient cried–

“Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

And so I ask, have you had this experience while writing?  The ascendance of the Imaginative Power over your conscious endeavor?

 

6 thoughts on “Who is Writing Whom?

  1. ruminationville

    Once, I was struggling over a chapter of a novel. I tried every writerly thing I could think of to get down on paper what was forming in my imagination. Nothing worked. Frustrated, I put it aside for several months. One day, I sat down to write something else, and out came this chapter whole — as if it had gone off for a while to write itself. It’s not exactly the same as what you describe, but it is quite a mystery, this writing business. Isn’t it? Leslie

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Great story. It is quite a mystery. And of course who doesn’t love a mystery? I enjoy mulling over this notion. I often think that someone must writes because someone (or as we like to think, many ones) must read. I have played with the idea of a fantasy novel about a writer who writes in order to instruct or at least communicate with his yet-to-be-born reincarnated self.

      It’s as if there is that something…that muse like being…who pushes the idea forward. Or as Emily Dickinson put it, “Ourself behind ourself, concealed–” Maybe writing is that which reveals “ourself.”
      Whoa! Good thing I’m not an alcoholic.
      Thanks for reading!
      Paul

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  2. ruminationville

    I like your idea of a novel in which the self talks to an unborn, reincarnated self. Or maybe the self is talking to the Self. I think good writing, inspired writing, comes from the Self behind the self: that one who is more wise, more holy. Eternal and redeemed somehow.

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  3. dweezer19

    I, too, have been working on my novel, for over two years now. I really feel propelled by it most of the time, its characters as real as any flesh and blood people in my life. Yes, I have had times where I thought to send the story in one direction but its insistence on diverging from the path was stronger than any ideas I held onto. You story sounds intriquing..

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  4. Deb

    I am currently listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “I can see clearly now” audio book and he talks about being “possessed” by his spirit guide and that she just took him completely over when he wrote his book “Gifts from Eykis – A Self-Discovery Book”. He had named his spirit guide Eykis after his daughter Skye. So I totally believe that something or someone intervened while you were writing and I love the idea that the attic was clean and neat there are so many more avenues that open up with that…continued enjoyment with your novel writing!!

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