Saturday, August 4, 2012

Holy moments

I believe anyone who has ever experienced finishing a big process, knows what a great feeling putting the dot to it is. Finishing it fully. Maybe years of work.
For a creative person it's a huge point to come to. Letting something you created go. See the pile of papers, whatever you've been working on for months, maybe years, right there.
It also means letting the work go. For a writer, it means sending it to a publisher or an editor. There may be more editing rounds coming up, but the first holy moment is when the pile of prints stands on the desk waiting to be slipped into that big envelope. Or the file attached to the message going somewhere waiting for someone to click the send button..
The second holy moment -later on- is getting the box of recently printed books from the post office. Opening the box and seeing the name and title on the cover. Touching the paper. Browsing pages. Seeing the writing that was only an echo of words some time ago in the head. Making its way to a story. Now materialized for someone out there to read.
When writer gets hard copies in hand, it's time for celebration, maybe raise a toast. But already then there's been a process of giving up. Processing the emptiness. You've let your characters go. You might miss them. The whole process. Sticking small pieces of papers you've written in the bus so you don't forget the idea you came up with. Placing something you suddenly thought of in the timeline of the story. Getting excitement when finally solving the puzzle with something you bumped into while walking the streets, reading the paper, seeing a person who reminded you of something.
Letting the script go in the first place is a bigger thing for many writers. Some medicate the sudden emptiness by getting drunk, maybe spending the whole week or two smashed or in a soft room. Some hop in the plane or train. Change the scenery.
I've had my own methods. Some years ago, after finishing a novel, I was considering taking a last minute trip. It didn't matter where. Anywhere would have done the job.
Instead I developed A Day. In fact, An Afternoon. No glasses of champagne, no cigar once a year as Paul Sheldon in Misery. Just a bus ride to the city. Little stroll around. Lunch in a quiet place by myself on a weekday afternoon. Choosing a film of my taste. Sitting in a nearly empty movie theater alone. Letting it all go.
In the early evening I'd take a bus home. Purified. Until the creative machine would soon start turning itself on again.

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