22 Sep

Yikes! Marisela tagged me with a meme. It goes like this:
“Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths.”

Hmm…. I’m going to rephrase the question to, what things work for you in a writing practice?
I don’t think I can claim these as strengths all the time, but they are my hard-won guidelines.

1. Persistence. (in all honesty this is most of it) It means having a practice, and persisting with that practice even when there is no inspiration, the negative voices are loud, etc. Showing up at the page every day.
2. Having the courage to dream a world before forcing a shape or an outcome on it.
3. Revising. A lot.
4. Separating revision from creation.
5. Following my nose towards two things: what really scares me, and what makes me curious?

As I gear up to teach again, this question really made me think about my own practice, when it supports me and when it doesn’t. putting judgement aside and writing every day is really key, and so is a more subtle practice— which I’d call attention, or noticing, or listening. Paying attention to the world and its voices and to what connects with my inner music. Somewhere between these two things, I believe, is what’s called “voice” in a writer.
I hae faith in swinging the magnet of my attention over the random matter of the world and noticing what sticks. Where are the charged particles for me, and what pattern do they make?

Another thing i’ve learned as a playwright is that the nice play I WANT to write may in fact not at all be the play I’m compelled to write. This fact is horrible for the vanity but probably good for the nascent play. Case in point: Slow Falling Bird (probably my best play) I was driven to write by rage and deep pain at what my country was doing to refugees. Yet I generally hate worthy political theatre. The tension between the need to testify, to speak back, and my own aesthetic which tends towards the Adornian view of the autonomy of the work of art, was a very productive one and forced me to find a new way of writing that could accomodate both a kind of dream-vision of the inner worlds of my characters, and a gritty realism that spoke to current events. Material dreams. . .

And now I need to think of who to tag myself! To be continued….


One Response to “Tagged!”

  1. Marisela September 24, 2007 at 11:27 pm #

    Hi Christine! It’s great to read your response to the Meme. And inspiration to read.


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