Ah, the first sip of a double shot Mexican mocha, the first movement of the mouse. Finding the place where the writing stopped, picking up the lead, the flying fingers' clicking speed. Music fades.
No, the world is still out there. Wang Chun still exhorts everyone to have fun tonight. Cars pass through the lazy dispersing fog outside the coffee shop's front windows. Other customers enter and leave, glancing at me, shadows on my mind's awareness.
Their existence has moved to life on my edge. I'm in a bubble, thinking, typing, reading, seeing, hearing the story that I attempt conveying. Sometimes I feel like I'm in control of the processes but other times I'm just an intermediary, the body typing the words.
My processes are a matter of flows and layers, organic in the way that water and land shape one another through complimentary and conflicting movement. I write fast, capturing a scene's essence, building a skeleton. As events happen, words are spoken and revelations are made, I realize impacts and go back and forth, adjusting for this new tidbit of information, figuring out how it fits. As the character and relationships develop, they're more fully written in the moment but sometimes I discover new nuances of their being and thinking and return to previous passages, adding tells, adjusting passages to firm their personalities, thinking and reactions.
In some ways, I'm learning the story as it happens. But after it happens, I'm realizing what happened and go back to tell more. Most of us have done the like in our lives, as parents, managers or friends, catching glimpses of a story and then asking, "What happened here?" We strive to learn fuller details and weave them together into a narrative, an explanation that makes sense about what happened here.
I think of it like the painting and drawing I did in my youth. There was a composition seen and a structure developed, but it's the details of color, lights and shadows, layers and textures, that draw you deeper in.
The process is a reflection of me. I've always worked from the large scene and delved into the details. I enjoy sharpening edges with details and complexities. Knowing characters' details and the story's details impart a greater realness to them, realness being a substance different from reality. That substance helps immerse me in the worlds and stories that I find.
Probably the most interesting facet is that the stories begin outside of myself. Through matters seen and heard, they burrow into my thinking and germinate. Story ideas grow into concepts. Sometimes the concepts blossom. Blossoms take many shapes - characters, a first line, a last line, an unexpected twist about the original concept.
Sometimes a passion blooms, triggering a burst of other blooms. Then it's a matter of waiting and observing it, trying to find the right moment to begin the harvest and start writing like crazy.
Time to return to the process. There are many more words to be written today.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com