Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sotto Voce

I've been uninspired writing-wise lately, at least as far as the usual topics go on this blog. Life is comfortable, I've settled into an incredibly nice rhythm of married life and work, and the days tend to be smooth and enjoyable. While the lack of stress and drama is certainly welcome, it leaves me without the drive to sit down and write empassioned posts about development work, eating struggles, loneliness, job anxiety, housemates and any of the other topics that were my staple for the past several years.

It's funny, sometimes I think this lack of fire in my writing is a sign of complacency, or at the very least cynicism. Not surprising, as I suspect I suffer from both to a certain degree. Other days I see it as a gift to discover other, more subtle subjects to write about. When I'm not surrounded by drama, when I'm not on the soapbox about the inherent hypocricy of much of the "development" work that is done, when I'm not struggling with my own demons...suddenly I am free to write about days past, characters not yet fully formed, ideas waiting to sprout.

I'm not expecting anything revolutionary or genius - and am certainly trying to stay away from building those crippling expectations - but I lie awake each night, in the few intensely creative minutes before sleep sets in, and I imagine the protagonists of my future writing. Many of them are based on the very people who pushed me to write such intense posts since arriving in Mozambique, but they are developing into distinct personalities. I don't pretend to know other people's stories fully - and don't particularly want to write 100% faithfully about my friends, colleagues and foes - so it has been a great revelation to break free from the idea that I must be a biographer or an autobiographer if I am to write based on experience.

Yes, they say to write what you know, but I've understood that it is also okay to venture off and let life-based characters take on their own adventures, downfalls and triumphs on paper. I think the quiet, almost predictable place I am in at the moment allows for the imagination to spring forth, for the voice that was somewhat buried underneath all of the drama of the initial Mozambique years to come to the forefront once again, albeit with a much sharper tongue and some incredible experiences shaping the words unfolding.

I know what the next step is, but it is incredibly intimidating. To write, one must write. I need to write. It's time for a beginning.

4 comments:

Pat said...

loved it... and want to read a lot more of your new way of writing... that's life, i guess! we'll never be the same of yesterday, of a month ago, a year...
good luck, ali!
pxxx

judy in ky said...

Don't worry about writing what you know. It may seem predictable to you, but your life looks fascinating from here. I enjoyed your post about new year's so much. It's fun to see other places and other people. Love seeing your kittens. Also... nice pedicure!

bart said...

lack of inspiration is part and parcel of writing and practically any form of human activity... often it's a way of slowing down and refocussing, and you'll probably see that if you don't worry yourself too much with "needing to ..." you'll be able to free your mind up enough to start again, possibly on a completely different trail altogether...

good luck, relax and keep well ;-)

Amber said...

"It's funny, sometimes I think this lack of fire in my writing is a sign of complacency, or at the very least cynicism. Not surprising, as I suspect I suffer from both to a certain degree. "--

Oh hello. Ditto. Lately I feel like I just don't have it in me to go to the depths I have in the past.

ox:)