In one of my writing groups, specifically for memoir writing, which is the writing that I do, and you would be surprised at just how many memoirs I've actually come up with that I could pull out of my head. At least, I'm surprised. I don't think I could write fiction. I've tried, and sure if I gave it my all I probably could, but it's not my heart and soul. These are good things to recognize.
Let's get back to my original thought... In my memoir writing group it was proposed that we try a writing a prompt to challenge ourselves. We are all at different levels in our writing journey, and writing memoir is quite a journey. Personally I had a misconception that writing prompts were only for fiction writers, but I've recently discovered, it really isn't. It's for everyone and all types of writing projects.
In this particular thread it was suggested that we write about why we write.
What does writing give us? If we were to explain it to a culture that didn't have writing as a way to express themselves, what we would say?
I thought I might as well throw my thoughts out here. It's a really interesting prompt and the way I write I tend to fly by the seat of my pants (I've learned that writers actually use that as a classification. I'm not a planner, I just write, and often when I write I have no idea what I'm about to write).
There's no wrong way to write.
Writing is like a painting, drawing, or a photograph. Photography specifically has been one of my life's greatest passions. I think I'm fairly decent behind a camera, not just photographing children and families, but capturing moments, and being fully aware of lighting and my surroundings. I learned in photography to "turn around". As we move forward in life we see what is in front of us, and in some cases we certainly do end up with a striking photograph of the moment right before our eyes, but suppose you turned around and caught the light in a different angle, a different scene altogether, something you wouldn't have seen otherwise, something no one else can see because they are all still looking forward.
Next time you're out with me, I bet you'll be hyper aware that I always turn in the other direction. I want to see everything, not just what the sign is telling me to see.
Of course this is a metaphor for life, and for my writing. I didn't understand myself or my past until I turned around and faced it from a different place in my current life, perspective, and emotion. And I've turned around quite a few times at different points in my life, and the scenery keeps changing.
I write the way I take a photograph. That's the truth, but what does that mean?
Photography was very emotional for me. Art itself has always been very emotional for me. Not necessarily creating the art, but viewing it, touching it, experiencing it.
That I could take a good photo and really focus on every single aspect of the photograph, why I framed it a certain way, and all the things I paid attention to that no one else did, or maybe even would, it gave me an even deeper connection to what I was doing/viewing. That's writing for me. I get to now obsess over a single word or phrase, or memory the way I would obsess over the angle I was approaching, say, the petal of a flower, how the stem reached up through the photo and if you would have a chance to still be aware of the other flowers that made up the bunch that this particular flower was sitting in. You could still get a vague sense of something else preoccupying the space even if that one single petal took up the majority of the photo. That was fun for me, I really did love Macro photography the best. Zooming clear in to see details too small for the human eye to really obsess over. That's my writing. I want to focus so closely on a single memory that you still get a sense that other things happened around that one memory, but in that moment you could feel my pain and heartache with me. As if only that pain existed, but there was just enough of something else lingering that maybe you wanted to zoom out to see a larger picture, and knowing that that detail existed, how would that change the larger image?
Honestly, I wish I had written this post before I started writing my book.
How does that explain to another culture that has never written words before just what writing is? All cultures experience emotion. Emotion through connections to either the people around them or their setting and nature. Emotion towards their food and what they decide to eat each day. Emotion towards art and self expression. Whether it's writing, painting, baking, hiking & exploring... etc, there is emotion in all that we do.
The reason I started writing was because I needed to get that emotion out. I didn't know that's why I was writing, writing has always been second nature. Writing is what I do. That doesn't mean I do it well, or that I'll be a famous writer some day, or that it's my passion to write all day every day, it's just the other thing that I do, like breathing, or crying when I'm sad. I feel something so I grab a pen and a notebook. Until today I haven't fully recognized the complexities behind WHY I write.
Who reads blogs anymore?
I feel like I AM speaking to a culture or society that doesn't read or use words as expression unless for business purposes, or promoting goods and services.
LOL, OMG, Totes-ma-goats... **wide-eyed-emoji**
Writing is an art form, no matter what you're writing about. Writing memoir is the art of turning around and showing everyone what you're seeing through your own vantage point.
That is what my book is. My book is me turning around while everyone keeps moving forward with their day to day lives, and giving you a look into the emotions I had, and have now about what I saw while I was moving through it, and what I see now as I look back. Several deeper perspectives of several single moments in time that changed who I am forever.
It is a collection of forgotten photographs.
It's like going back in time to that photograph and telling the person behind the camera, to turn around.
I like metaphors. ;)
How did I do? Did I just completely confuse a different culture?! LOL