Monday, August 9, 2010

why we write (or: space base camp)

since one week, i am part of the Folded Word Writing Camp - which means: writing a complete short text every day, be it twitter story, microfiction, short poem. i am also still joining the weekly 52/250 themes. i was a bit anxious about this: all those texts to be written. yet what happened so far is that i follow the challenges - and parallel to that, write more. and read more. summer word camp, it really is.

the Writing Camp stories are not accessible, but the 52/250 are online - the one i wrote for the previous week is a flash fun story. the theme was: "Allergic Reactions". this is partly inspired by a true small town moment, and partly on the magic realism side of words: Redeye Rabbit. but it really is just a fun little story, in contrast to the next:

the theme for this week is: "Space Camp". the idea i had for it was to write a fun alien story. but looking at the world from space, i ended up with a story that reaches from past to the future, and is about mankind, and its hopes and struggles: 5000 years.

i did some research for the story - on the energy resources. and on the timeline of writing. which starts 5000 years ago, with the first words, the first transition of thoughts and tales into a lasting shape, in a form that can be picked up later, by oneself or others. 5000 years - a time span almost impossible to imagine. and even harder to imagine for me: a world without writing and reading.

why we write - it is one of the questions that keep moving through these days. there was the author talk with Rose that touched the theme, in the talk this passage is about taking images: "While traveling, I tried to capture the places I visited, or rather: the mood of the journey -- Then later, back home, this way of photography continued: to find the angle / viewpoint that captures the moment, and the photos now often stand for themselves.."

reading through this again, i realize how this is only partly true - i almost always try to combine text and image. there are single images published, yes. but just look at this blog. or at blueprintreview. and the note that the reviewer of NewPages wrote about it:
"BluePrint Review is an online journal constructed to ease the complex and beautiful convergence of language and art and all the possibilities this entails."
which leads to another key word of these days: possibility. last week, i came across an essay on writing in the Metazen blog which was about writing, and also touches possibility: "Pi in the Sky" by Michelle Elvy: "The possibility for numerous outcomes – the possibility of anything, really – lives on the writer’s page. To write about that possibility, and to do it with the precision of black on white, word on page, is a thrill."
then there was this other quote from Laurie Sheck, which i already picked up in the author talk: "...when you create a book you create a space that you wander around in."

and then, today: Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek. this book that found its way to me just at the right time. today i returned to the first chapter, to these lines on the world and writing: "Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery ... We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise."

the wider view. space camp. and: folded word base camp. it all somehow connects. and i want to linger longer with those thoughts. and at the same time, i want to get the new issue of blueprintreview ready for launch now. can't wait, really. (which, as it happens, is the theme for the following story challenge, too: can't wait).

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