“So you sit down every morning and write in your journal.”
“What do you write?”
“I’m not even sure. Most days I just open the book and write anything – a story, a conversation like this one, or thinking about what to publish next or some such.”
“OK, then what? What do you do with what you write?”
“Yeah. What do you do with this stuff?”
“Well — usually I just leave it.”
“You don’t go back and read it?”
“Well, I do …”
“Some of it’s pretty interesting. Might be a piece of a novel I’m tinkering with, might be a song lyric or a short story I could flesh out.”
“So – do you do that? Flesh it out? Put it in the novel?”
“Not always. Every now and then. OK, almost never.”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do. Why not?”
“Scared, I think.”
“Scared of what?”
“It won’t be good enough. It’ll be a great idea but I can’t execute, or no one will care.”
“Do you care?”
“Well, sure —”
“Then who cares who cares?”
He looked across the plain and saw dreams scattered everywhere – scraps of paper, aging buildings, candy wrappers, flowers planted in rows – all of them dreams, executed in varying degrees of completion.
“Pick one up.”
“I don’t care – any of them. Pick one up.” Continue reading “The plain of unfinished dreams”
Once upon a time there – was there ever a time or place? Once upon a time in a town with a name like any old name, any old bunch of any old guys woke up to any old day, or at least they thought so. Before they turned in that night, they had learned that this was one of those newfangled days that changed all of their assumptions about everything they thought they knew about their town, its name, themselves, and time itself.
[The beginning of a story is a promise. Before you declare a story finished – or a poem, or a song, or a piece of furniture, or any venture, check to make sure you kept your promise.]
Always what’s next …
It’s good to have a next, you know.
Finished is better than good – but good is important – so make it as good as you can, but don’t try so hard to make it good that you never finish. Projects get finished. Finish what you start. Fix it later, or live with the flaws, but finish.
And then move on to the next. It’s good to have a next.
I wrote this song 33 1/3 years ago – two chords and a phrase – on a morning when I felt just the way it says – and writing the first verses opened up the final answers that flowed out in the climax.
It did not take long to write. That day I fully understood the concept that songs, poems, stories, are all just out there waiting to be discovered, waiting for someone willing to be a vessel for the words and music, because I don’t know another explanation for how this song got written. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and at the same time it expressed something deep inside me. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Wanting to Live Forever”
There’s a guy in northern Door County making Big Magic at a coffee bar. His name is Ryan Castelaz, and he fairly bursts with the excitement he gets from making coffee in new but familiar ways.
He told me his shop, Discourse: a Liquid Workshop, “offers a familiar and yet totally unfamiliar experience … You’re getting a lot of flavors and aromas and presentations that you’re not unused to, but you’re unused to seeing it in coffee.”
I had the pleasure of spending an hour and a half with Ryan for an article that appears in the newly released summer edition of Edible Door magazine. We got to talking about the creative process, because he is an artist, standing joyously at the intersection of art and science, using the principles he’s learned through an impassioned study of coffee to create experiences akin to discovering a movie or a painting or a poem that surprises and delights. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: Big Magic”
“I think, therefore I am.”
I am, therefore I create,
because we are made to make things,
made in the image of a creator,
the image of a creator will be a creator
… will be a creator …
Perhaps today you will make a poem or a novel or a painting or a sculpture or a novel or a short story or a glass bowl or a latte.
Today, perhaps, you will make a press release or an automobile or a bridge or a cellphone or a garden or a symphony, but
you will make. you will create.
It’s what we do.
because we are.
because we think.
Wanting to write but lost for ideas the other day, I reached into the vinyl piled next to my turntable and picked three song titles at random, then vowed to fill a page of my journal with a story named after each tune. I share the results for better or worse.
Continue reading “Saturday Stories: Three flashes”