“You’ve got to tell them a story”
Thst’s the short answer. The one that burns in my head and cuts through the narrative of adverts read, conversations had, and activities done. You’ve got to tell them a story. Just a story. One that grabs people by the lapels and shouts “Read of this and tell me I’m good!“. There’s also an element of pleasure in the result.
There’s that wee hit of dopamine; the feeling of having done something, of making something new. It might be derivative. It might exist already in some other form, but this one is mine.
Even this post exists already in some form or other, out there somewhere, by other people. But this one is mine. You’ve got to tell them a story.
Stephen King in On Writing describes the act of reading and writing a story as telepathy. The writer creates something and the reader formulates it in their head. Picture a lamp. Everyone will come up with a different lamp, but the important thing is that a lamp now exists for a time in your head. King put the lamp in me. I have transmitted that lamp to you.
I picture quite a plush lamp, with a lampshade made of fabric that feels hairy or like it’s made of fur. It is a living lamp. It is brown and has textured lace on the sides and encircling the top of the shade and its bottom. It is fringed. I believe this lamp comes from memory, it existed in my paternal grandparents’ house, I think. Maybe it is still out there somewhere, or perhaps it was thrown out as the feeling of the shade was a little disconcerting. It scared me when I was young. It was like a monster’s mouth and I thought it would bite if my hand lingered on its hair.
As you can see, writers often write about things they have seen. “Write what you know”, as the adage goes. The keystone of realism. Sometimes it’s dialled down but more often it’s dialled up. For me though, it’s all about the story.
You’ve got to tell them a story. To pick the fractured and separated pieces of experience, the thoughts and the feelings of times long since past and gone, and put them together in a new form. There is nothing new under the sun, but sometimes it can be ordered differently. It is said that poetry is the right words in the right order. Or it’s the right words in the wrong order if you don’t like poetic grammar.
The main problem with writing what you know for most writers is that they know very little. Many writers don’t work. Some shy away from the company of others. Some of them seldom live, merely survive on small bits of gratitude. Some of us are indolent, lazy and not liable to do anything unless we have a deadline, a hanging sword above our heads. This was me for a long time, but I’m getting better. I got my parents work ethic, partially, and I like to work. I love conversation, in fact, it’s where I make my best poetry (often forgotten later). The vast majority of my written and posted things here are travel related (admittedly, my beautiful fiancée spurs me to travel more and does a lot of the lifting as far as planning goes – I am grateful for that, thanks love!).
For me, writing is alchemy. You’ve got to tell them a story. You’ve got to take basic elements and ingredients and turn them into gold. Spin phrases, add details, remember sensations which are too easily forgotten. You’ve got to pick the right words and put them in the write order. You’ve got to sequence events. You’ve got to tell them a story.
There are many things I’m bad at; remembering names, rugby, writing regularly. There are a few things I’m okay, not masterful, at; making friends, keeping in touch with people, being open and vulnerable about feelings. And there are a few things I’m great at; humour, maintaining eye contact, turning the common lead (Pb) of life to the gold (Au) of a story.
My name is Fraser Horn. I’m kind of a writer. And it pleases me.
Trying to do some daily writing and publishing for a week or so to get over my indolence. Watch this space and let me know how I’m doing! As I said earlier, I partly do this for the small hits of dopamine I get from views. That hurt to write but is totally true. So go on, punk, make my day!