This weekend I attended a workshop for fiction writers and it was once of those great ones that you hope for that leave you feeling enthused to write rather than wanting to give it up all together.
I had planned to go along as part of my plan to get into my novel again now that Kiwiana Charlatan is (almost) finished.
The weird thing that has stuck with me from the workshop is the idea of using writing as catharsis. Now intellectually I know that writers/artists/musicians use their art as catharsis since, well since the Greeks coined the term. Why this has taken my interest is that I don’t use my writing in that way. For me my writing is a way I can figure out why things happen (relationship troubles, identity issues) rather than figuring out my emotional response for them. It struck me that the piece I have had most trouble with, a play called Both Speak I (which was based on my sister and I), is because I was approaching it intellectually (why my sister get on so well) rather than emotionally. So my head didn’t get why it would upset me to write it.
As always seems to happen in this serendipitous world, I have been thinking of writing something that is (intentionally!) cathartic.
A while ago I read this post by Simonne on her blog Into the Quiet, and thought “I could write a drabble…100 words, easy!”
Well, as many of you experienced players will know 100 words isn’t easy at all. It’s pretty bloody excruciating. For some reason I wrote about a little incident that happened when I was a teenager (prompted by a friend, who upon learning what my novel was about kindly suggested that maybe I should write about growing up instead…)
After the 100 words were done I thought to myself “I should write a series, different incidents of when I was growing up and cars and the same characters.” And because I called the first one 10.15 On a Saturday Night that each should have a song title of that evokes that time in my life, and I could call the collection “Mixed Tape.”
Why would this be cathartic? Because at 30 I still don’t drive and one of the reasons is that friends of mine died in car crashes when I was around that age. One of those friends was Johnny and his anniversary is coming up soon.
At the moment it will be a fictionalised memoir with some memories (and maybe people) compressed into one event – y’know to make it more of a coherent story.
I don’t know if it is something that I will work on just for me; but here is the first one for your reading pleasure:
10.15 on a Saturday Night
“Turn it up.”
The only time that The Cure will share billing with Dobbo. He’s right; this is a slice of heaven, as long as we take the back roads ‘cos Cal is still on her restricted.
Her Hillman is so old the backseat doesn’t even have seatbelts. Johnny slides around the back, wearing his red jacket. Each of us girls has worn it over our uniforms. But not in that way ‘cos we’re just mates.
At her place, Marcia says:
“You guys are so busted”
“Johnny, remember your jacket. I’m in enough trouble”