Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Individual Writing Philosophy

The system of values by which I have come to write original, pieces of literature that are satisfactory to my own personal standards have always been far from premeditated. The pieces of writing that I have completed on my own time solely for myself have always had a sense of spontaneous mystery within them. Literature, like music or painting is a valuable art through which the author or artist is able to transcribe what he feels only he is capable of expressing. The motive and overall intention behind the creation of art and literature can come to an artist or author in various forms that at times may even be mysterious. You will never find a true artist or musician sitting around asking himself why he should paint his next painting or write his next song, or even searching for reasons to do so. Backtracking to Joan Didion’s, On Keeping a Notebook, the author would jot down slivers of dialog and peculiar details to summon experiences to- remember what they were to her. Was someone making her write those things down? I personally believe that literature, like art, cannot be forced. Art that is forced is not art, and on the contrary, literature that is forced is not literature, but merely strings of words and sentences. Synchronizing the essay, English Composition as a Happening into the picture, Charles Deemer states that essays are written by heads, but insists that the heart should also have its say in English Composition.

Being an aspiring musician I have the opportunity to study and sometimes even write music accompanied by lyrics. I can honestly say that from my experiences and perspective, at times music and lyrics are born without one even asking for them. Sometimes different pieces at different times, leaving you to simply put the puzzle together. To me, music and lyrics are brought by something I can only describe as a muse. It reveals itself either spontaneously, or grows in my head so loud that It overwhelms me if I don't transcribe it to paper, and feels as if it were a part of me. This same muse can wake you in the middle of the night, force you to grab your instrument and attempt to record an impossibly meticulous stream of consciousness that flows looped through your mind. Sometimes this task is not so easily accomplished, but you don't give in easily, the reward of it is far too grand, and at times when you do give in, the guilt... the guilt of giving in would keep you up all night anyway, and if are up all night, you feel no sense of loss, even the perception of time fades away because you do it all realizing, that if you are fortunate enough and consistent, one day, you might even stumble upon the happy accidents that are art, and this my friend, is priceless.

A poem that has always been a very significant influence on me supports my philosophy on writing most literature and music…and in the words of Archibald MacLeish “I insist that poetry is also capable of knowledge”, so pay attention to the poem below by writer Charles Bukowski entitled- “So You Want to be a Writer?”

so you want to be a writer? by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.
don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.

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