My altar is a sprawl of papers and books stacked precariously, pens that have lost their caps and odd flotsam that got put here in some moment while, busy chewing on story ideas, my fingers simply dropped an item.
There’s no incense or holy water here, and my priest is not one, but many voices, most of them speaking to me from the pages of dog-eared books on subjects ranging from plot structure to the journeys of heroes.
I meet myself here every day, and some days there is a productive outpouring of words. Other days I revisit creative “failures,” try to re-imagine my way through muddled story, muddied characters who are still in the process of becoming.
There was a time I believed this process was all about the end goal of being published. And now I realize that this daily, quiet, personal act is about transformation. Just like a character must undergo a noticeable, dramatic transformation of the self at the end of the journey we call plot, I am here, every day, little by little, to experience higher degrees of myself. Sameness, stagnancy, kills in real life and in fiction—it stifles the soul, and suffocates a good story. Writing cracks everything open.
The act of seeing writing fiction as a vehicle for personal transformation as well as for telling stories that speak to universal truths has changed the way I write, and the way I live.
Thus, when I teach writing, I am not meeting my students as instructor-on-high, but as a fellow traveler on a uniquely personal but parallel road.
If you’re interested in facilitating this process of transformation in your own writing, join me in February for an intensive 8-week online course on Plot that is like none I’ve ever taught before. www.jordanrosenfeld.net/online-classes/