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Apr 16, 2009

Two Minds



A quote from a book I'm beta reading struck me with particular force.

"Of all the conflicts of the world, nothing can surpass the conflict between two minds wanting sole possession of the same body."


Lady Glamis, struggling with some of the same issues I am in rewrites, said, "I have a feeling that the fabric full of holes might be heavier than I think."

"Write what you know," we are told, as writers. "I'm sick of that phrase," she said. Me too. As if we need only to know a thing, and then expressing it will be easy. Ha.

We don't write to express ourselves. We write to know ourselves.

(Art by thadeoradicarlous.)

15 comments:

sraasch said...

Ooo deep. And very true. I don't half the stuff I write about, but become an expert by the end.

writtenwyrdd said...

Write what you think you know and darn that fabric later in the revisions.

Honestly, while the saying "Write what you know" has merit, it can be misinterpreted to mean "Don't even think about writing something you haven't experienced for yourself" which is dead wrong.

You are human and thus you have experienced human things. You are a writer, presumably with a deep command of the language and a feel for how to express meaning gleaned from reading, writing and looking about yourself. So, I say, you CAN write ANYTHING. You just must stretch the perceived boundaries of yourself to do it.

Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes you will need to work really hard to make that expression look easy, graceful, and true. But you can do it.

And if you don't try new things, what's the point of writing? It would seem really boring and mundane then, to me, anyhow.

Lisa and Laura said...

That line gave me chills.

beth said...

Great commentary! Thanks for sharing :)

Lady Glamis said...

Oh, wow, great comment at the end, and it is sooo true. I'm having such a hard time dealing with what to do and which directions to take with my book. It's overwhelming and stressful. I hope it's worth it in the end and that the lace gets a little lighter...

Davin Malasarn said...

I definitely think we write to know ourselves. I also write to know others. Writing is the most fun for me when it is exploratory, when I have no idea if what I'm writing will end up being a story at all. Lovely post.

Litgirl01 said...

Wow!!!!!!!! SOOOOOO TRUE!!!! I have learned more about myself and life by writing my novel!!!

lotusgirl said...

True, True! And that lace can be very heavy!

Kim Kasch said...

"We write to know ourselves."

I love that.

Just_Me said...

We write to know ourselves?

It's an interesting thought. I'm not sure I 100% agree, but I feel we're probably writing different kinds of work for different reasons.

I'll go with: Don't write what you know, write what you want others to know.

Natalie said...

Lovely:) I write to understand myself, I think. I know a lot, but sometimes I don't quite understand why I do stuff. When I put other people into similar situations to my own life, a whole world of understanding opens up.

Sophie Lawson said...

This is one of those allegorical comments you make, Tara Maya, that really bugs me! I have two minds as to what you mean, so there is going to be fighting all afternoon over this!

Thanks!

Tara Maya said...

Ha, Sophie, I bet you have more than two. Write down the struggle.

Sorry if I've been the cause of any domestic disputes.

Solvang Sherrie said...

That is so true. I write to figure things out. So does that mean what I know is angst? Maybe that's why children's books are a good fit for me?

Dara said...

If I was writing what I knew, I wouldn't be writing the book I'm working on now. :P