Getting mad is better than getting depressed. Or maybe getting mad is a way to get out of depression. They say (whoever they are) that getting mad is a waste of energy. When I read about the horrors that humans inflict on each other, my first reaction is to get depressed. To feel hopeless because it’s been going on ever since we stood on two feet and learned to use our hands. Humans are a badly flawed species that seems determined to destroy itself. Anyone who takes the long view of history is aware of that.
Given a choice of geting depressed or geting mad, I choose mad. It’s a waste of energy only if you don’t do anything with it. Or do the wrong things, like take it out on other people. I write books. A new friend asked me how I could enjoy writing about such depressing subjects. It’s easy, really. Being mad gives me the energy, and hope keeps me going when the energy runs out. I no longer hope to change the world, as I did when I was young and naive and unaware of the ways in which all our problems are tied together so tightly that all you can do is pick at one tiny corner and undo a knot or two. But maybe I can change one person’s view of the world and in that way change something in their life that will reverberate in the lives of others.
Writing about writing. A well-known blogger recently wrote a post about what a bad idea it is for writers to blog about writing. I won’t list the reasons, most of which I disagreed with, but realized that I’m not a very typical writer–or blogger. I’ve always blogged to share ideas and knowledge. The biggest kick I get from this blog are comments that tell me I’ve given some struggling writer a new idea, or a new perspective that can help them with their own writing.
My approach isn’t that of an expert, because I’m not. I’m a learner, trying to become a novelist, and I share what I’m learning and how well or badly I’m doing in various areas. In the past, authors sprang full-blown from the foreheads of their publishers, and you never saw the struggles. That made being an author an awesome achievement that was most likely out of reach of us lowly groundlings. The how-to books were written (and most of them still are) by “experts” who laid down the rules we needed to follow. Then blogging came along, and people were sharing their struggles and experiences, and learning from each other.
I read a good number of those blogs, and they’ve taught me a lot. But one thing has been missing, in those blogs and in mine–exposing the actual process by which a novel takes shape and goes through the revisions that turn it into a readable and enjoyable book. So that’s what I’m going to be doing every once in a while. I haven’t decided on the exact method yet, but I do have a vision of how it will look. At least I know it will involve tearing down the work to show how I put it together. Stay tuned.