Writing from the Heart

Last year’s novel was concerned with Memory and Mistake, and it’s greatest fault—and the reason it’s sitting in the vault, aging for a spell before I go back over it—is that it is largely written from a state of removal. From the first page, the “writer” states that he is writing about his writing more than he is writing about the life that his writing sprang from. And by the time the denouement starts to form, like a storm accumulated from the dust and wind and moisture of the traversed landscape, the Blackbird Variations, 3 retreats into a fractalling demurement of self reference, interpretation and critique that is so freaking dense and uncalled for that I’m sure anyone who made it that far would end up chucking it across the room, shouting: “What the hell is your problem, Benjamin? Why is it so hard to just tell a damn story?”

I let my mind guide my prose, and while some people can pull this off, I’m not one of them. My wheels spin so tight and quick that all too soon they spend the grist they’re fed, and begin to masticate their self-same mechanism.

Probably the greatest complement I’ve ever received, as an artist, was voiced 10 years ago by a four year old girl. She said to her mom, while describing the stories I would make up for her class while they ate lunch: “Benjamin tells stories from his heart.” And yet every time I tell a story to a blank page, my head steps all over the heart and tries to get the blood portioned out into a 42 fluid ounces, labeled and tested and siphoned of hemoglobin.

There has to be a way to cheat this.

About Benjamin

I mostly write. Songs, too: soundcloud.com/benjaminb View all posts by Benjamin

2 responses to “Writing from the Heart

  • Jim

    “My wheels spin so tight and quick that all too soon they spend the grist they’re fed, and begin to masticate their self-same mechanism.”

    A champion sentence if ever there was one!

    I am not worried about whether you will publish. You can, and you probably will. I wonder if you outline a story before beginning? It might help, knowing you have to get to plot point C before moving onto D.

    • benartboy

      There are two modes of writing that I employ. The first and perennial is the Epic, which has been my focus for most of my writing life. By Epic I mean that each work ties into the larger whole. I’ve drafted 6 of the 7 books in this series at least twice, and in some cases 2-3 times, each resulting in a sense of ‘this isn’t ready yet.’

      The second mode is adventure stuff. ‘veI done a few of these and I feel that only recently my writing skills are up to the task of pulling them off. We’ll see, though, as the last one I wrote I’m letting steep for a few weeks before I go back and edit it.

      I have always had a hard time with pre-planning, which may be why it’s taken so many drafts of the series. There are many tangents which tie into eachother and, in execution, this has causes much stumbling. A Resistance of Letters is coming along good, though, which shows me that I have sufficient enough knowledge to, like the Jazz musicians of old, throw all theory out the window and play my standards as if I’m making them up on the spot.

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