Tonight, I believe I have come to one of the greatest realizations that I might ever come to, as a writer of course. A shocking true that is so undeniable that I almost crumbled, curling into a ball to hid my shame from the world and crying like a child who had realized everything that I had experienced was a lie. And I’m pretty sure after reading this, those who have done the same thing might question themselves like I have and begin to question why and how to change.
To tell the truth, when I was little, I hated books. Probably because it required me to sit in one spot for a period of time and do nothing more but observed the words on a page. Wash and repeat until there was no more pages left. It strikingly painful to do and when I think back on it now, nearing my birthday of becoming twenty-three in the coming days (the 26th of December), I realized I rebelled and fought against something that I truly loved.
But this isn’t the beginning to a mournful story because I found it a similar formula in video games, mainly role-playing games. For those who may not know what those are, they’re games that allow you assume to role of a character and play through the game as that character, sometimes making choices and decision that effect the conclusion when you finished. Oddly enough, I was too dim-witted at the time to accept the fact that I found another way that I could read and enjoy stories interactively. But I did.
Honestly, it effected me just like a book would to a advent reader. I cried when characters died. I grew upset when the characters I thought made the perfect match didn’t hook up. I cursed a child’s fury (dang, fudge-sickles, and all the rest of them) when the evil character did his evil-doings. I stood in triumph when I defeated that evil-doer and saved the world and first a sense of closure when it was all done. (Sometimes crying by the ending.) I realized now that I gained same experiences that readers did back then, just in a way. Not to mention the television that did wonders on the brain. They say that the journey is what makes us happy, not the destination.
And as I grew older, the stories I was playing became more complex and compelling, I found myself wanting to give someone out there the same experiences that those of my childhood gave me. Those emotions and feelings. I had learned so much because of those characters. They were my idols. The ones I wanted to be like when I grew up. So i started writing based off what I knew. Awkward fan-fictions concerning the characters that I had played with and knew, giving the tales far beyond their creator’s wishes. And it was a fun time and it lasted for a long time… actually it didn’t change until recently last year.
When I started reading books.
They changed my outlook on how stories were told.
They astonished me with their wordplay and vivid descriptions.
Shattered my childish dreams of recreating that only because I was a realist and knew I knew naught how to create such fantasies like they had.
It like was like becoming a child and going through the same experience over again. My mind was blown. I couldn’t put any book that I had picked up down. (Some I could because they didn’t hook me, but they were rare) All types of stories from writers aboard, who all had different ways of storytelling. Some were over descriptive, feeding my imagination with the worlds necessary to create their ideals in my imagination. Some were subtle, short and sweet with allow me to use the clues given to create my own version of their world how I saw, unique to me. Some stories were character driven, told by their point of views which allowed me to put myself in their shoes. (Cinda Williams Chima, Han Alistor) and others were more plot driven, allowing to see the unfolding of story and how each character played their role. (C.S. Friedman, Kamala and Colivar)
The simple idea of it all was overbearing and had fundamentally changed how I wanted to write. How I wanted to go about things. And just how much harder it would be to do so.
I had realized where my inspirations had came from and learned that I had grown out of them. I learned that I no longer wanted my work to resembled something that people would see in a Anime (Japanese cartoons) or RPGs, even though they are still stories. I wanted something more concrete if that makes any sense. (Its not to me, by the way. I’m confused right now.) I wanted something more and what that more is, I don’t know, sadly.
However, I realized something that I’ve lacked. Something that I must take time out now to learn and master.
Have you ever bitten into an apple? An article asked me. And from the moment I had read the question I had realized where she was going with the article and knew that was what I lacked.
Remember when I said that some say that its journey, not the destination?
I realized I hadn’t lived or experienced things that I could relate and describe with emotion. Well, I won’t say that I haven’t because that would imply absolutely nothing has happened to me in my 22 years of living. But ask yourself like I did. How she asked me. Have you ever bitten into an apple?
Keep in mind, there is not hidden meaning behind it. I’m taking about apples.
So I thought before I scrolled down. I’ve gone to stores. The Wal-marts and Meijers and I’ve been to orchards on a class field-trip ages ago.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear grocery stores, I think about name brand products like Red Delicious and Granny Smith in the produce section. The shiny waxed beauties that are hand stacked by someone during the night shift to add to their appeal. The apples that can almost be mistaken as one of those apples that your grandma keeps on the living room table. You know, the ones that fooled someone into thinking it was real.
And it was then I realized what she was talking about.
I recalled the time that I went to the apple orchard during October when I was about eight years old. I remember me comparing the apples there to the ones in the stores. They were smaller in size and I remember them having a different name. But I couldn’t remember the taste. I couldn’t recall the feeling that surround that day. Probably because it was long ago but I understood what she was getting at.
There was a tale in that experience. An adventure just ripe of the picking. And this when the horror set in.
How long had I been lying to myself? How long had been living in world filled with things going on without really experiences them? What other things had been masquerading as the real deal, convincing me that I have lived and experienced the world when in face I have been living my life blind to it all.
Now I’m not saying my experiences aren’t experiences. But if it wasn’t bland and “normal” then I had completely overlooked them. I did not see the value in them. I heard a quote from a movie that said, “There are no ordinary moments, people can live their entire lives without being awake.” It was from the Peaceful Warrior. I think I understand what that means now.
But how does any of this pertains to writing?
Because I can’t notice and realized all these wonderful subtle experiences, taking them for what they are, amazing moment in my life…how can I display in my characters? If I never lived, how am I going to write characters that live?
I found my new year resolution. I going on a journey to experience life and document it the best way I can. I want to be able to convey that sense of feeling and emotions to my readers. And I have to learn it. over the next couple of days, I will try to pick out experiences in my life that stood out and convert over into a short story or scene and see how it plays out with you guys because Fiction Press doesn’t allow for such luxuries when though they are a community of writers.
But to all of you, please think about this. I hope that you come to the same conclusion I have and even as you read and write after this, try to implement this into your writing to make it more intricate and interesting.