WRITING LIKE A PAINTER
I write like the abstract expressionist painter I am, using my broad brush a lot. I have stories to tell, stories that help me see the themes threaded through my life a little better, and there are details that help flesh that out. But I’m learning that the philosophical takeaway often rears up and snatches the whole thing away from original intent of telling a story once it gets going.
Does anyone else have this process? Maybe that’s just the kind of writer I am.
I want to relate the lessons I’ve learned and the realizations I’ve had as a person on an unfinished life journey just to see if there are echoes in the audience, so to speak. At least, that’s the thought in the back of my head.
Obviously, I won’t draw the same conclusions you might in the same situation, but there has been enough water under the bridge in my life that I feel pretty confident in my conclusions. I need to qualify that statement, though. Very few of my conclusions are final; they’re usually tentative, available for revision.
I want to understand two big things — how to live, and why to live. The rest is details in the big picture, in my opinion. My stories usually revolve around my confused and stumbling search for insight into those two things. They are funny, looked at from this distance, but at the time there was a certain amount of pain involved.
I doubt if my search will end before I die. As the picture gradually comes into focus, the world comes into focus for me, strangely enough.
Looking back I see how I did stupid and completely ill-advised things simply because my head was full of literary ideas that didn’t relate to me. I had to wade through the swamp just to learn what kind of being I was. I needed to see what was actually driving me. I’m still learning that, in fact.
Fortunately, the swamp is receding. I know my wife is relieved.