Bonjour mes chers lecteurs! Yes, I am actually SoCS-ing today. Yes, that is a verb. I have been away from WP for a while, (although I did do that writing challenge on YeahWrite — keep reading to hear more about that) but I am still accumulating ideas in my head for stuff to write about. You know, “when I have time.”
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about writing, what I write, why I write it, whether or not it’s interesting to anyone but myself, and indeed, if that really matters! After having done the YeahWrite Superchallenge, I thought about this even more. Although I didn’t win, I am very proud to have been in the top ten in that competition. I’ll post my third and final essay from that later today, I think. I value the feedback I got from the judges, even if I don’t quite understand how to apply it yet. I like their website and I have been thinking of participating in some of their other weekly grids, which are subject not only to moderation by the Yeah Write team, but to a popular vote among the readers and writers of their community.
I’d like to improve my writing skills, just because I am the sort who cannot do something I like without the desire to get better at it. C’est la raison pour laquelle je continue à étudier le français. De plus, j’ai trouvé beaucoup d’amis francophones…
In any case, maybe if I subject my writing to a bunch of folks who are openly critical of its quality, then maybe I can learn from that. Maybe I can figure out how to better use punctuation and to create writing that flows better and sentences with better attention to tenses and structure. I hope so! Who knows?
I have come to the conclusion that I should try my hand at fiction one day soon. Various influences have convinced me that it is worth a try. We shall see.
There is a Belgian singer called Axelle Red whose music I like quite a bit. I read an interview with her about one of her albums on this site (click here), and the interviewer asked her an interesting question. You can click and read the interview for yourself, but I will paraphrase the question that drew my attention as a writer. On the album, there are songs about a sad woman whose lover has left her. The interviewer asked her if she believed that an artist is more inspired when they are going through failure or disppointment, the famous “depressed poet.” She answered that since she wasn’t sad and that her own marriage was going well, and she hadn’t wanted to write more about commitment, she had found the solution to the “depressed poet” problem: You have to invent a story with characters.
You have to invent a story. That is one answer to this question, isn’t it? If one has a happy life, a long happy marriage, a loving family, a roof over one’s head and money to spend, the small conflicts that come up in a life like that seem to be of little interest to the world at large. Every story on the news, on Twitter, in the “blogosphere” seems to be trying to out-do the tragic qualities of the one before, where the shocking realities of the horrific things people do to one another are taking center stage and the quiet people living happy lives fail to attract attention.
After all, what is interesting about a marriage where the biggest conflict is who forgot to call the washing machine repairman or whether or not it’s a bad idea to buy yet another “i-thing” ? A marriage where the two people are inextricably in love, literally can’t spend enough time in each other’s company, have a lot of the same interests, and can’t imagine not being together? If that were a novel or a movie, you’d be waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. One of them would get a terminal illness, or get killed in an accident, or they will fall into poverty, or one of them will get attacked or raped, or have their identity stolen, or get kidnapped by aliens and sold into slavery on Tattooine.
Who doesn’t love a good story of someone who overcame great adversity? I know I love those stories. What I
don’t can’t understand about the “tortured artist” because I myself am not in this situation, is the perpetually tortured artist, the one who never seems to overcome, the one who thrives on misery, whether or not by choice, writing tome upon tome about sadness, angst, woe, hopelessness, gloom, distress, dolor, the proverbial “Debbie Downer.” Sure, we all have bad spells, but it’s a true tragedy to live there forever. A good adversity story needs to end with the hero conquering the dragon in some way, what do you think, dear readers?
I got to thinking about “Happily Ever After.” It has to happen “After.” After the princess is rescued from the dragon, after the price is turned from a frog into a man, after the evil queen is vanquished. But the story of the princess who grows up with her parents who are benevolent rulers, is married to the prince of the neighboring kingdom who are allies and friends, and who herself becomes a benevolent queen alongside her doting husband and the two of them live long happy lives and die of old age– this story is never told because it is boring. Boring to be happy and have happy memories and to have only “survived” the normal sorts of conflicts that happen in normal sorts of lives. One might say, “Oh, well those are weak people. If something truly dastardly had happened to them, they couldn’t have handled it.” Well, guess what? They probably could have. Every person who has a tragic story probably began as someone without a tragic story. Then they either vanquished their dragon or they got burnt up by it. Either way, I guess that’s fair game for FaceBook, right?
The key to all of this is being a good story teller as a writer, I think. So that’s why I need to improve my writing skills! I have a collegue who is a superb story teller. I really should study what he does. Seriously, this guy could take this event: I was at a hotel and walked to the 7-11 for a coffee one morning, and then I walked back — and he would tell it in such a way that you’d be hanging on his every word. You’d want to take his advice about 7-11 coffee. You’d think that this was a person worth listening to. I want to be able to tell stories like that, true or otherwise. Because the thing I have noted in all this rambling about stories is that if you have an ordinary life and you want to successfully write about it, you must be an extraordinary writer. Otherwise readers will dismiss you with a “So what?”
Oh wow, this has really been Stream-of-Consciousness. Oops. Just random thoughts that a random blogger has accumulated about stories!
Et vous? What do you think about tragic stories, happy stories, boring stories, story-telling in general? Do you think happy stories can be interesting? Do you think tragic stories can be boring? Is art born from a tortured soul worth more than art born from a joyous soul? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear your stories 🙂
À bientôt, chers lecteurs.
P.S. The picture above is by Gustave Caillebotte, who was known for being a wealthy art collector, friend and supporter of many of the more well-known impressionist artists. He was, however, a very talented artist in his own right, even if he did not lead a very tragic life. Click here to learn more about him!
This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Click and read, click and join in!
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “accumulate.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!