Monday, 7 September 2015

I am a woman who writes

I am a woman who writes. I have imaginary friends that I carry with me. We share adventures, we chat, we build a rapport until, one day, they tell me their story. I do not always recognise this is what they are doing immediately and, when I do, I sometimes have to write frantically for days to pin down their words before they drift away.

Often times my focus becomes centered on the writing and they become bored and leave me. They do not want it to be about the writing – they want the telling of the story and the response of the audience. They want it to be about them, but I am a woman who writes and I care about the writing too much. And so I am alone with a half written tale of a hero.

The tale lies before me and I know I must finish, but what happens next? I am a woman who writes and I have the words. I have so many words. None of them are the right ones. A scattering of broken sentences and false starts lies before me and I am disheartened. I am a woman who writes and I need my storyteller. I revisit his tale so far. I had become so engrossed in my word craft that I had forgotten the tale he wove for me. I take delight in his adventures and I see the shape of what is to come. In the absence of his guidance I begin to slowly, clumsily, craft the next few stages. My hero has laid waste to an army and now enters a new confrontation when I feel his presence behind me. How would you escape this? I muse aloud. I am a woman who writes. Tell me, would you fight?

Oh, no, murmurs my hero. I am a pacifist and have been for my whole adult life. I freeze solid inside as I realise weeks of work are wasted. How did I miss it? I wonder, reflecting on how clearly this was depicted in his character throughout his telling of the story. I am a woman who writes. I grit my teeth and casually ask if there is anything else I should know. I have never loved, came the sad response, and I will not kill to survive if there is any other way. Mentally striking out the scene where he met the lady at a hog roast, I ask; What is your story?

The words flow and I, the woman who writes, am subject to them. I plough forwards with disjointed paragraphs and multiple attempts to perfectly describe how this happened, or that failed to happen. I have learned my lesson and I am a woman who writes his story. That is all. It unfolds before me. Eventually he is bored again and leaves, but the story is mostly complete. I know him now and I know how he ended, so when I finished his story the events are correct. My hero is a healer, not a warrior.
I read through my work. It has been so long in the making that I forget where I lost him first time round. The tale is woven and some is clearly wrong but the truth, the real truth is hard to find among the multiple perspectives and hidden agendas.

I am a woman who writes. I take the rough scope of the tale and begin to hammer and shape it. It begins comedic and ends maudlin. I destroy the self, self, self that my storyteller brought and exchange it for a certain wry acceptance that the world is what it is. He becomes cold. This is wrong. I reinstate the selfishness and add a sense of fatality, destiny, desire. All these things tumble before me and never does it tell the right tale. Finally, I give him despair. He becomes a warrior after all. He heals others, he fights himself. He is broken, he is despairing, he is lost.

I am a woman who writes and I have written his tale.