I 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.