IN PROGRESS - “INVISIBLE TANGO” (PART 7)
Once the information is organized, it’s time to “simply” write. I put the word “simply” between quotation marks because it’s not really that simple or easy. Nevertheless, there are many essays, books, and articles that talk about how one should write – rules that can help guide one’s process and learning curve into creating a script. There is a famous quote, wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, that says: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Although the origin of it might be from Paul Gallico in 1946 or even earlier, I believe that there is more than meets the eye to this feeling.
It’s true: the content that you write is your act of bleeding. But how do you bleed? This is where I think there is no replacement for knowledge. There are many books about this subject that you may read. I can suggest The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives, by Lajos Egri or On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft, by Stephen King. Although both of these are excellent starting points to work from, I suggest you read as much as you can on any subject you are interested in. This will improve your technique, something that takes years. After this, you will be ready to start bleeding.
One way of learning about writing is from examples of accomplished writers and how they view the process. For example, Henry Miller, one of the most accomplished writers of the last century, said this about writing:
“Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.”
I would say that in order to achieve this, there is a lot of discipline involved – forcing oneself to work steadily and rigorously, while portraying one’s most intimate sensitivities and fragilities. Another great piece of advice comes from Annie Dillard, the author of The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New, when she says,
“People love pretty much the same things best. A writer, though, looking for subjects asks not after what he loves best, but what he alone loves at all… Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”
Find your astonishment and write. This is what Invisible Tango is all about. I found myself in a personal place where I was looking around and couldn’t find anything I could connect to fully based on what I wanted to express. So, I am writing it to express my own feelings, ideas, and emotions about what is happening around me, in the world, and how I see this process. Life is the biggest of inspirations, and the more experiences you have, the more your will have to tell. I could give you a list of mini rules I use for myself, but I can give you one I learned from Elmore Leonard that succinctly defines what I believe in: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.