Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing and the "Real World"

You know, we writers love to complain. We love to complain how our jobs get in the way of our writing, how life gets in the way of our writing, and how our writing gets in the way of our writing.

Yeah, that last one. You ever get an idea, and that idea starts you writing, and that writing brings forth ideas that require whole new stories and whole new plot lines and whole new ...

Not that I'm talking from experience, or anything like that. But let's just say that my flagship story ("My Sister Rosalie") has gone from a one-shot to a three volume novel with three side stories of the first volume ("Rose by a Lemon Tree," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," and (unpublished) "The Hurt Chair"). And the funny thing is the following: "My Sister Rosalie" was just an aside of my "main" idea about Lilly and Lucas in high school ... that I haven't gotten around to starting.

Ugh, I'm living a cliché: I'm a writer of a three-volume novel, just like Miss Prism in "The Importance of Being Earnest." I even write earnestly, for goodness sake!

As the French say: le Sigh!

But that pesky real world: where would we be without it? Isn't it amazing how life imitates art? For example, I write a chapter about Bella and (not-)blueberries ("Just Say It"), and come to find my cara spoza can't stand them in her oatmeal. Go figure!

Or, I write about economy and the Great Depression ("With the Depression On") and that recalls to me what my own grandfather went through during those troubled times.

Or, my meditations on what a vampire is (want), and isn't (angelic will), in an unpublished fragment that will, thankfully, never see the light of day, lead me to ruminations about, of all things, DDR.

I mean, seriously! The "real world" shows up all over the place, even in introductory snide side comments from our much put-upon vampire about gratitude.

So, writers, the next time you complain about the real world getting in the way of your writing, don't. Benjamin Franklin reminds us that he who does not have enough is silent, and he who has enough, complains (or: "It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man." This is Big Ben's reminder to me to stop complaining about writing and just get to the actual work of writing). After all, you have been given a gift. Who writes? Nearly nobody in the world writes, ... but you do. And, sometimes, even, your writing saves somebody from despair, or maybe even inspires somebody else to write. Only you can sing your song.

Sing it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Learning from history: Efficacious Caius

The sad and beautiful thing about history, besides its existence and essence, is that 1) it repeats itself because 2) hardly anyone takes the time to study it and to learn from it. Vampires do need to study it and to learn from it, that is from the history that they themselves have not experienced, and the smart ones, like Jasper, do just that. A philosophy major vampire with his nose in a book? Those are the most dangerous kinds.

Take, for example, the Volturi. They are the most dangerous vampires in the world. Why? Because they know their history. Arguably the most dangerous one is the most ignored one: Caius. He knows how to get rid of problems: eliminate them. Period. And he follows the Rule to the letter, because he knows there's nothing more dangerous and unmanageable than a frenzied crowd. Aro could and should learn a lesson or two from Caius.

That's not saying he hasn't. Caius is one of the Three for a reason. Caius is no pawn. He knows the score: he just takes the most direct path, because he knows, from his three thousand years of experience, that most problems are most easily solved directly. Diplomacy? Pfft! Aro can play his games, but the cohesiveness of the Volturi is built from victory to victory. And behind most of those victories (besides the big public splash that Marcus made in the Carpathian suppression) is Caius with his very simple, straightforward and direct approach.

And Caius doesn't need to sing out his merits, because he knows that lack of attention isn't a bad thing at all: a lot can get done when nobody else is watching your every move (are you listening, Aro?). Vampires being out of the limelight isn't just because of the Rule (Caius: "Yes, it is!") but also because of all the other, accidental, benefits that flow from that inattention.

Mobs: unruly, undisciplined, ineffectual: dangerous because they are so chaotic.

The Volturi. Hm. Quite the opposite of a mob, aren't they! And they have been in power for more than three thousand years.

There's quite a bit people could learn from history. But then, they'd have to learn, now, wouldn't they? And that might interrupt their ESPN time.