Monday, December 03, 2007

A New Sense Of Space

Every writer knows how crucial it is to have his/her own space. We need to be able to get away for a bit to where it's just us and our characters. Any small intrusion on that space during times of creation can prove disastrous for our characters and our worlds. The experience can quite jarring, like being woken up at the climax of a great dream. I've gotten better at having my space molested by the sub-creatives of society, but there was a time when it would make me feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Back home one of my daily assignments was to make the salad for dinner. I know, it's a pretty lame chore. (FYI, 8 years ago “lame” would have been “gay”. I'm glad I've outgrown that.) Anyway, it would end up working out that I would be doing some of the best writing of my younger years shortly before dinner. I can't count how many times my soldiers have been ready to charge the enemy, or my unsuspecting villain has been in the crosshairs of a rifle, or my likable but expendable character is about to say his last words when all of a sudden my mom shouts across the house, “Make the salad!” “Dude, are you serious?” says my expandable character as he laughs at me from the page.

So here I am in New York, things working out pretty good at a glance. I find myself staying either at my brother's or my girlfriend's, but whereas I've always had some space to call my own, I now find myself to be the awkward molester of other people's space. I have experienced some of my worst writing droughts during this time. The solution isn't as simple as being alone, as I thought it would be. Being alone certainly helps, but there's something about having a location that you are completely familiar with, a location in which you are aware of every creak and slope and shadow, that incubates the creative mind.

My next big goal is obvious. I have to find my own space. And when I do I will certainly have a new found appreciation for it, because I've learned something about myself. I can make it in New York City (and probably any other city) without a space to call my own, but I can never be a writer of any kind until I find my home.

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