Melbourne_victoria_australia_1021810_hI was driving on the freeway yesterday, when a car approaching on an on ramp didn't know how to merge correctly.  You know the kind–they don't anticipate where you are already on the road and adjust their speed accordingly.  This driver just plowed along ahead, oblivious.

I honked the horn and yelled slammed on my brakes to let her in ahead of me. And I thought of the days when I first started driving, probably because I spent an hour at the DMV on Friday renewing my driver's license.  (Now I can breathe when I pass a cop on the road, I've been illegal for over a month.)

Back then, when I was learning to drive, I was terrified of merging onto the freeway.  Terr-i-fied.  I thought it was the most hare-brained idea anybody had ever had, this merging thing.

But now, it doesn't bother me in the least bit.  (That's what a gazillion years of driving does for you.) And yesterday, after I thought about all this, I started thinking about all the ways we merge when we write.  To wit:

We merge with our characters.  We see the world through their eyes, become them, totally blend with them so we can write in their viewpoint.  Sometimes when I write, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and will myself, ever so gently to be my character.  Then I ask, what does Emma Jean see?  What is Jemima experiencing in this moment?

We merge with the setting.  This is uppermost on my mind at the moment, because tomorrow night's novel writing class is on this topic. I think its a bit more subtle, but the place we set our fiction (and non-fiction) has a huge impact on the story.  Think about it: you're probably so merged with the place you live, you don't even think about it. 

We merge with our creativity.  This is the biggie. When we're totally merged with our creativity, we are in flow and it is magic.  Magic.  It's the state when time passes and you don't even realize it, when you're one with the words that are spewing onto the page.  It is the state, I'd venture to guess, that we all aspire to in our work. 

And that's as far as I got with my little merging metaphor, because I reached my destination.  So, what think you?  How do you merge with your writing or your creativity?  Is it a worthy goal?

Just wanted to let you know that the next session of my Get Your Novel Written Now class begins October 9th.  You'll learne everything you need to do to prep to write a novel, just in time for Nanowrimo on November 1st!

Photo by SplaTT.

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10 Responses to Merging

  1. Sandra / Always Well Within 08/27/2012 at 10:31 #

    Confession: I’m still afraid to merge on the freeway. Fortunately, there are no freeways where I live but I still need to merge sometimes! Writing is a good place to do that! I especially resonate with the biggie: merging with the flow of creativity.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 08/27/2012 at 10:36 #

    I'm sure you're not the only one, Sandra, merging can get very hairy!  You're lucky to live in a place without them.

  3. Karen Phillips 08/29/2012 at 09:02 #

    I think merging is a good metaphor for the writing life because I do have to get in the flow of things in a lot of ways. After I quit work to write, I spent too much time sitting and my knees are paying the price now, along with my messy house. I would think merging is another way of trying to get in balance with things. I like merging, stopping to wait on one thing to go by so I can get in the groove. Great thoughts, Charlotte!

  4. Charlotte Dixon 08/29/2012 at 09:39 #

    That's a good way to think about merging, Karen. It's all about the balance.  And your messy house must be the twin to mine!  I did manage to do some cleaning last weekend, but it gets messy again so fast!

  5. Fear of Writing 08/29/2012 at 09:53 #

    OK, full confession (since you fessed up about being illegal for a month): I’ve lived in Ohio for four years now and only just got my Ohio license last month. But not before I let my out-of-state license expire for six months. Yikes! That’s why I had mentioned in a previous comment that seeing a picture of a prison cell on one of your blog posts chimed right in on my irrational fear of where the nice policemen might put me when I went for my driving test. LOL!

    Great points about merging while writing. I’m having a really busy week and today is the 10K Day. I’m not in the mental state to merge with anything but my To-Do list. Ugh. But your post inspires me to try to drop down into that state of being merged with my creativity. Even if I can only manage to feel that for a few minutes today….

  6. Charlotte Dixon 08/29/2012 at 10:07 #

    It actually makes me feel better that I'm not the only outlaw writer I know!  My worst experience was driving down the street and a cop coming toward me suddenly turned on his lights and pulled a U-turn right behind me.  I thought he was coming after me!  But he went on by.  Phew.  That's when I decided it was time to brave the DMV.  And, by the way, I swear to you and all my readers that I'm going to do your 10K day one of these days soon.  Good luck with the merging!

  7. Fear of Writing 08/29/2012 at 10:17 #

    Hahaha! Isn’t it funny what our guilty consciences will make us think? Fortunately, I have an extremely (ugh, brain just went blank, can’t think of the word) … INNOCUOUS-looking car (took me a full minute for that word to come to mind, hmm, is that Freudian, or what?!). So somehow I eluded the local cops for all those six months of being expired. But I paid for my procrastination a thousand times over when I had to go for a temporary permit and then take all the tests, just like an 18-year-old newbie driver. The test for reversing through the orange cones was the pits. And talk about multi-tasking inside your brain … the patrolwoman insisted on asking me a stream of questions about my life, career and family while I was doing the driving test. Cruel and unusual punishment.

    Charlotte, I believe you when you swear you will join us for a 10K Day someday. If you ever want me to put the screws in just to get you there, I do provide that service for writers. LOL!

  8. Charlotte Dixon 08/29/2012 at 10:34 #

    Milli, I can't believe you had to take the driver's test again!  That's crazy and the orange cone part sounds awful.  Though I did impress my husband last night when I parallel parked my car in a tight space on a busy street last night.  This was after the novel writing class and I wanted a glass of wine.  Just shows what motivation does for you.  Yes, I might need some, um, encouragement to do the 10K day.  Seems like things never calm down enough for me to consider it, but I think a Saturday could work.  Plus, I just need to do it.

  9. Fear of Writing 08/29/2012 at 11:03 #

    OK, I’ll make a Note to Self to whip Charlotte with a fictional piece of chocolate licorice to see if I can entice her to come to the Saturday 10K Day in Sept.

    Hilarious about how you suddenly became an expert parallel-parker with the goal of a glass of wine. Now that sounds like a very Emma Jean way to be!

  10. Charlotte Dixon 08/29/2012 at 11:24 #

    I'm going to be in Nashville the last two weeks of September, so you'll have to flog me before then!

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