Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Why Am I "Baring My Soul"

In response to a comment from one of my favorite guys, I wanted to answer this question on top before I moved on to the next exciting chapter of "Why Am I Single".

It actually started with me writing the little fiction book over on the other blog. I was writing and pulling out some of the characters and another poster, Peter, said something about the "helicopter view" that I was writing instead of some of the details that might go along with certain situations. Then "Tone" said not to worry about it and let it just flow off my fingers, I could go back and fix whatever was needed. Then I was just writing some general things on this blog and the story about drag racing as a teenager started rolling off my fingers and it was kind of funny. I wondered who had those kind of experiences as a kid. Then Peter comes back and says, "that's what you should be writing - funny and personal".

All of a sudden, the words from two very influential teachers and a good friend came back to me. Mrs. Englewood, Senior Composition, English/American Lit. I actually had her for three years for different classes. Obviously, English/American Lit, World Lit, and composition. She was the person that got me interested in Shakespeare, the Iliad, Greek Mythology in general, Mark Twain, O. Henry. You name it, we read it. Then, I had her for Composition. We were set up in groups and we had to write a short piece of fiction. The group had to critique it and then the final was turned into her for a grade. It might not look like it in some of my postings, but I did learn a lot about sentence structure, etc from those classes.

Anyway, she read my work and wrote on the paper, "Good technique. Lacking passion. Try writing about something you know next time." Well, as an over achiever that kind of banged on the ego a bit. However, I wasn't sure then I could write about anything, much less something I knew. Everything was angst and teenage pain back then and, instead of channeling it, I was more apt to hide it away. You know, I was trying to be cool. :)

The second teacher was my band teacher, Mr. Bond. We were doing Jazz band practice. That was over the summer. We would go down to Crown Center and play for hours. I was third seat and wanted to be first very badly so I was taking extra practice sessions all summer long. Again he says, "You have good technique, but you just need to let it flow. Let it out. Jazz isn't about being perfect. Jazz is discordant notes rolling into rhythm. You've got to feel it."

I never did make first seat. I was trying so hard, but I couldn't let it flow.

Then there was my friend Craig. He was like my adopted brother when I lived in Philly. I was from Kansas and he was from Tennessee. We were two fish out of water. I had learned to play some guitar by then and wrote a few songs, but they were really cheesy and sappy, stilted even. Craig played guitar pretty well. He was in the Navy so the only thing he kept with him was his acoustic. He taught me to play some more chords, a lot of songs and how to make other rhythms, use the other parts of the guitar for sound effects, etc. He heard some of my songs and said, "What are you trying to write? You should write songs about what you know. Don't worry about whether anyone else gets what you mean, just do it."

Anyway, the other day when I just wrote off the cuff about drag racing, that seemed to solicit a bunch of responses for something that was just a memory to me. A really good and bad time all at once. Right then, those three people came back to me and I realized that I've always wanted to be a writer, but I've always held back. Kept some things private because I didn't want anyone to know. You know, they might see behind the mask and find out that I am not perfect.

That's why my writing has always been mediocre.

So, before I go back to write my fiction, which I will finish, I thought that I should write about what I know first. Me. Ego. Angst. Love. Pain. Family. Friends. Growing. All those things that I know best.

Besides, I have long come to terms with those things. Well, most of them anyway. And, I've found that it isn't much different than other people's pain and angst. I don't need a mask anymore.

Which reminds me of this grunge band wannabe guitarist I met up in Philly, just prior to Kurt Cobane's suicide, who said to me, "You wanna be good, you gotta feel the pain, man. You gotta feel the pain."

At the time I was thinking, "Sure, dude. Whatever."

Now I realize that he might have been a sage after all.

2 comments:

Michael_the_Archangel said...

I'm a favorite guy? Lil' ole me? ArchAngel's aren't real attractive when they blush you know.

No, as usual, I really like your writing. It is obvious that you are writing what you know, it comes through in your writings. As does your passion, that I've seen when something gets your dander up (love those rants).

Keep it up, it makes for very enjoyable reading; and it's kind of nice to take a peek into that soul of yours.

MichaelH121 said...

It is not about "feeling pain" it is simply about feeling.

I do not "structure" what I write. I simply start, and let it end where it may. I do not always use grammer correctly. I tend to write the way I would speak it.

As I as said, when I had a story in my head that would not go away I sat down and started typing. 13 hours, coffee and sore fingers later I had 15 chapters. It may not be a masterpiece but it sparks emotion in those who have read what I have so far.

The "All and Awesome" poem I wrote if you look, is a poem within a poem didn't try it just came out. And in the end it made sense also. All we need is a muse. That is why blogs are there by the score. The muses are happy. They have a voice. We give them life.

We ponder
We wonder
The thunder
Look yonder
We know
We see
We grow
We're free
We fall
We give
We live
We call
We are
We stay
A star
We pray