Saturday, June 11, 2005

Getting to Know You

Those two or three of you who are a regular visitor to this blog may be wondering why I've been, well, ignoring it. First, I didn't promise I would post every day like I do at Bark Bark Woof Woof. Second, I've been devoting a lot of my writing attention to Small Town Boys while Bobby Cramer takes a well-earned break. After all, I did write nearly one hundred new pages in it and spent a lot of time doing substantial revisions to the earlier pages, rounding out Bobby's life before the story really begins and finding a lot of those little annoying things like anachronisms (it's 1979 and that was a long time ago) and tyops typos. Third, I've been putting some of my writing -- mainly Small Town Boys -- on The Practical Press.

TPP has been running for about two months now, and I have found the experience to be amazing. This is the first time in my writing career where I've participated in a cooperative venture like this -- well, at least since high school when our English class put together a mimeographed literary magazine as a senior project. This time the format is much more forgiving, and we have a little wider audience.

The most impressive thing has been the outpouring of writing. We have at least three serialized novels in progress (and I may have missed one or two), a series of short stories, poetry (and not all of it meeting the criterion of "Bad Poetry Friday" -- it's very good), and one or two pieces of playwriting. Apparently we all had a lot of stuff we were working on just waiting for a place to publish.

If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, then the pen is the voice of it. Through these writings I have gained insight to some of the people who make up the core of this group. I know what they love, what they hate, what frightens them, what awes them, and what touches them. They may not have revealed all their secrets -- writers, after all, must keep something for later -- but they have allowed us as readers into their world for the moment, and through that we have also seen what touches us. While we write alone and I have yet to meet any other members of The Practical Press in person, I feel I know them. Writing, in the end, becomes a collaboration between the writer and the reader... we are connected by the words.

I remember the first time I met a famous playwright whose work I had admired for many years. We became friends and as I learned about him and his life and what mattered to him I began to understand his work more deeply than I did when I just read the scripts or saw the performances. I remember thinking that now it all made sense -- why a particular scene, for example, was crafted a certain way. I felt like I was let in on a secret the rest of the audience would never know. But I think that no matter how well I knew him, it didn't change the the meaning of the play or the impact of the characters and their actions. I'm beginning to feel the same way about my fellow writers, and it is a comfort and an inspiration.

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Blogger oldwhitelady said...

Woo hoo! Yay Mustang Bobby!

2:47 PM  

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