Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Why WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS_A Buccaneer's Question
Why the title WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
That is the question Sharon Bayliss
and the ghost of Jean Lafitte asked me.
So I thought others might be asking the same question. So here is my answer :
All writers I believe write in the crosshairs.
If you have beta readers and have submitted to agents/editors, you know the feeling of being in the crosshairs of their evaluations.
Ouch. But no pain, no gain.
But I am thinking of the imagry of the hunter.
He fixes his aim at his target, looking through his scope.
The image is hardly crisp at the beginning. He must adjust the lens to achieve crisp clarity and the best chance of hitting his target.
Writers are like that hunter.
At first the image of our tale is blurry.
We tighten the focus with revealing dialogue, vibrant characters, engaging crises, and creative descriptions.
Pacing and plot tighten the image even more. Sometimes we get it with dead-on clarity. Most times we don't.
No one but Shakespeare is perfect.
If you don't believe me, ask Harold Bloom or any university English professor.
It is a tricky endeavor writing in the crosshairs.
How do we focus quicksilver humans into concrete mental images? Take flames.
They look like objects but are really processes. Humans are like that as well.
No human actually is complete. He or she is in the process of becoming.
But becoming what? We answer that question with our choices.
But there is more to my title than that. We all write the movie of our lives in the crosshairs. That endeavor is more tricky.
We don't get the luxury of time to reflect, muse, or ponder at leisure. Life is a harsh mistress.
As we struggle, Life flashes us that "beauty-queen" smile :
all sharp teeth and no heart. And in her games of chance, the House ultimately wins.
Like Indiana Jones we must make it up as we go along.
We plan and prepare. Life gleefully throws her monkey wrench into our preparations.
We must write our lives in the crosshairs of illness, accidents, dysfunctional humans, and our own inner demons.
We are all in Life's crosshairs, and none of us know when she will pull the trigger. We just know that she will.
But to enter her game, we must agree at some point to leave it whether we want to or not.
This is what my blog is all about : how to maintain a measure of grace and peace in the crosshairs of Life. I haven't figured it out yet. Let me know what helps with you.
It is also about how to deal with the insanity of being an author. Insanity?
Yes. What reasonable person would like to become a city of demons, inhabited by protagonist, antagonist, and a host of shadowy secondary characters?
What sane person would spend the day and night, speaking in tongues? Tongues of hero, villain, and in-between?
It is true that the world seems to value most what is highly morbid. Yet the world is different than what it seems to be. And we are other than how we see ourselves. How then can we write well of others?
That is also what this blog is about.
The purpose of this blog is to remind us just how difficult it is to remain just one person, that most important person : ourselves -- true to the dream that inspires us.
That is the wonder of this blog, of all blogs really : our home is open; there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.
But so is it with our novels. My blog hopefully will help you learn to become a better host.
I am currently listening to "Mourning Tree" by Leaves' End. The romance of my haunted, undead Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord, and his immortal love, Meilori Shinseen, has echoes to it of the tragic love of Arwen and Aragorn. Here is a music video I think you may like :