Friday, March 2, 2012

Rambling impulse

As a pantser, I never pass up breakfast. Or a chance to run a zig-zagging-tangent-rich-path through a new story.

It doesn't always turn out great, sometimes things go horribly wrong (or worse, boring), but tapping into that crazy part of my brain that wants to tear around like a hyperactive three-year-old and make a giant mess... well, that's when things start getting interesting.

'Cause here's the thing... to an adult, a multi-coloured scribble, a squished pancake of coloured Play-Doh or a clump of randomly stuck together Lego, well, they're kinda baffling. Especially if you are expected to guess what those are supposed to be.

To a child, it's obvious. And they have conviction that their representational creations are authentic. They're ready and willing to tell you you're wrong if you guess 'porcupine' after squinting at the vaguely octagonal brown smudge with purple lines sticking out every which way.

No, it's a giraffe. Or a space station.

It doesn't matter how inaccurate the execution, the vision behind it is clear.

Sure, it might look like a mess, but it's something.

And y'know, maybe that's all anyone else will see... an ugly, confusing mess on a page.

...but wouldn't it be the best feeling in the world to have someone look at that page and ask, "Is this a giraffe?"

...and you can say, "Yes!"

...because they get it.

Now, this will probably sound odd considering my last post was a self-reflection about personal taste, but I find my best ideas come from the most random and strange places. Usually they don't make sense. I squint at them on the page and all I can see are vaguely octagonal brown smudges with random purple lines... but somehow, later it makes sense. I can pick out a shape or a few lines that feel right, that look accurate, that imperfectly capture something that I didn't even know I was trying to say.

And I wouldn't have said it, if I tried to say it. When you're sketching, often the best lines are the ones you didn't mean to draw. They happen almost by accident when you're free and loose and having fun. The moment you start trying to put down a perfect line, your muscles lock down and you lose that flow of motion and your drawing comes out stilted, forced.

So never pass up the chance to make a mess, to be impulsive, to scribble all over the page and have fun with it.

I think... it's okay to give yourself permission to play around, to stretch your creative muscles, and not just with writing. The more experiences you have in life, the bigger the inner-resevoir you will have which you can tap into when you need it.

If you do the same things every day, you're only going to have a single, knotted rope of knowledge to climb on. Sure, it's easy to climb straight up to the ceiling on a rope like that, it's just one-hand-over-the-other, but wouldn't it be more fun to climb in every direction? The more varied the activities and experiences, the more ropes get added, and soon you can pull from a web of interconnecting knowledge instead of just the single knotted rope.

While I see the benefits of specialty knowledge, I think being a more rounded individual is healthier and more enjoyable, and part of new/different experiences is the way you do them.

Have conviction in what you do. But that doesn't mean you have to be serious about it.

Bowling competitively is a completely different experience than bowling blind-folded or backwards with a group of friends.

So make a mess, goof off, have fun, try something new.

...and speaking of ropes and messes, wow, that certainly was a rambling post, wasn't it?


  1. I totally agree. I LOVE ideas that come from truly weird places. And I also love doing experimental, rambling writing.

  2. Goofing off should be required every now and then. Sometimes I just want to feel like a kid again. And it can either be in my writing, or going and doing something totally off the wall with my husband.

  3. rambling or babbling is good and I followed every word :D

  4. The straight line is often overrated, in my opinion.

  5. Loved it--LOVE this post! Yes, let's go make messes and ramble. I'm all for it :)


Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)