Saturday, August 15, 2009

So . . . what?

For a few years now, ever since I graduated from an MA writing program, I've been looking for some kind of literary model to follow. I'm not looking for things to write about--my brain is full of that--I'm looking for a purpose beneath all the scribbling. It's the same question I get from a lot of people who critique my stories: so what's it about exactly?

I've written several short stories and one novel and I see some common threads, some scenes and moods I keep going back to, but lately I've found I'm asking myself the same thing: so what's it all about exactly?

Or like the crazy guy in the Spider-man t-shirt that used to come to our readings in Wilkes Barre would say: so why the hell are you guys doing this?

Over the next few posts I'll lay out what I've uncovered as I dug into this question. I realize part of the answer is already here, in my writing, but I don't write like most people (or at least that's what I've been told): I don't know where I'm going with something while I'm writing it, not entirely. And sometimes I don't even know what I've done when I'm done. I have my premise, my characters, the development, the turn, but as far as those mythical thematic threads tying it all together? They're more like cobwebs.

And maybe if I keep churning out stories I'd figure it out, but I'm way too lazy to slog through that. There must be answers elsewhere or at least some guides along the way.

So that's my current preoccupation. More on that later. In the meantime, one of the things that's been like a little headlamp of illumination during all this tunnelling: "The Little Star Dweller" by Yoshitomo Nara.