Friday, September 10, 2010

Incubating Prose - Toward Creative Writing

Call me Ishmael. And so begins the celebrated novel Moby Dick. Perhaps, on a very good day I might have managed “My name is Ishmael” or more likely “I’m Ishmael” or perhaps “I’m John” and that difference, I think, is the chasm that separates my writing from great writing.

I’m told it is called “craft”— that artful transformation from the nascent text: “my name is Ishmael” to the finished product: “Call me Ishmael.” I am here to learn that craft.

Call me Lee. That is short for Leland Richard Beaumont. I am a retired Electrical Engineer who has been writing non-fiction for the past several years. The writing is clear, well researched, and useful, but it lacks panache. It’s not hard to put down once you have picked it up. I enrolled in a creative writing course at Brookdale Community College to work on making my writing more interesting. Let’s see how it goes.

I believe the best story wins, and I would like my stories to grow legs.

Is it too much to hope for some creative breakthrough? With my photography, writing, and frankly other aspects of my life I feel like there is a shroud separating me from unbridled creativity. I can come close to that threshold, but have no idea what is on the other side. I am working on the “study more, work harder” side of the line, and others are living in the “create freely” region. Can I join you? What is the essential core of creativity? Where is its wellspring?

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a well-written non-fiction book by Michael Pollen that is making a real difference. It addresses an important problem we are all part of. It is elegantly structured and very well researched. It is informative, persuasive, and a pleasure to read. It inspires and enables the reader to act and contribute toward a solution. This I aspire to.

The plan is to incubate prose here and use this blog as a workspace for the course. Workshop feedback from the class and other general reader comments are welcome. As the writing matures, I may replicate it in one of my topical blogs on: Emotional Competency, The Golden Alliance, or The Wise Path.

1 comment:

  1. I have found you! I came across your emotional competency site a bit ago and I am enjoying it immensely. I am a psychiatric SW who works with severely and persistently mentally ill adults - x30 years. To find such a clear and comprehensive guide is wonderful and useful to me. I hear your dilemma and I'm struck by the idea that some folks come at problems in a very orderly way and this can make creativity challenging.Different brains process differently. My husband and I go around this quite a bit since he has what I call an engineering brain (orderly and thorough)and I have a flow/fluid type of process- more intuitive but not too emotional and fast moving. Well, this is just a comment not a letter so I won't go on alot. But thanks and I hope to read more!