We experienced a severe thunder storm last night, crackling with an intensity not found in my memories of storms. Memory is inaccurate on many levels because our mind has this capacity for making connections or creating patterns. We have, no doubt, experienced storms of equal intensity; those storms, however, were not put into a pattern. Still, weather never seemed quite as extreme. Growing up in Rochester, New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario, it took an entire day on the beach and in the water to get a sunburn worthy of first aid, this from a fair complected son of English/German descent.
Things change; relationships change. Somehow many of us take the view we, as in me personally, remain a constant. Considering my memories, however flawed, of weather, the sweep of change is remarkable. Recall where I can the stories of grandparents regarding weather and the changes become still more dramatic. There are sign posts if we allow ourselves to consider them.
Two recent sign posts gave me reason to think about change and my reinvention through writing. This morning I looked at the paper to find this headline: Major Networks Shut Out of Emmy Nominations. Where programming is concerned cable is becoming a major player.
Last week while watching a news program on cable via satellite – and that’s a sign post too, our cable company ran a commercial with Robert DeNiro (!) sitting on a sofa with a bowl of popcorn hurrying a surprised couple into tuning into his Tribeca Films on cable! Robert DeNiro! Meryl Streep is nominated for an Emmy. Steven Spielberg is producing television shows. Something’s afoot!
Sign Posts for Reinvention
My reinvention process through writing actually has some evolutionary roots. As a stage director my work has been the interpretation of other people’s stories. I often quipped to my wife regarding my passion for production that directing was as close to childbirth as humanly possible for a male! Opening night was the birthing of my baby. The mixture of pain and pleasure is addictive – and remains so.
The logical extension of this experience is to write my own stories for catharsis and profit. Telling stories, either as a director or as a writer share many common understandings of the human condition. Still, because one paints does not necessarily mean he can sculpt. Story remains the same, the attendant skills shift.
I have had to focus on learning new skills. Case in point, point of view has been somewhat maddening. My first attempt at a book came back from friends with bold notices of “Too much head-hopping.” “Stay away from first person!”
Fourth rewrite of my book and I still find sentences that betray point of view, logically impossible observations if from this character’s point of view. Nurturing one’s talent is the method by which we raise our talent to meet our passion. I’m doing that not by formal education but through loyal patient friends who read and comment. This blog also serve to nurture.
How to be Heard
If the goal is to write and be heard, however, those sands are shifting, much like the weather and cable programming. Publishing has always been difficult. The difficulty is magnified by the sheer numbers of people trying to publish and the evolving demand for form – tangible, hold in your hand bound paper or a download to an iPad or Kindle. Phones can carry books!
Self publishing is an option, one that has evolved from the shifting sands of writing and the sheer numbers of wannabe writers with something to say. Where there’s a demand business will find it. That is worrisome. The noise of self expression is daunting. Good stories, I tell myself, will rise to the surface. I think, I’m not convinced. Better to be the rejected writer of a good story, or lost in the noise of a lucrative business model?
This issue, I suspect, is one I shall return to from time to time. It’s the soul of why we write – to be heard. A wise man wrote “What you need and fear is a large part of why you write.” The need to be heard and the fear of having nothing to say motivates me.