Open to the Universe

Donegal Boats
Donegal Boats

Book reviews were the original intent for this platform… as I started writing fiction, I pivoted to more articles about my journey and experiences. Like I mentioned before, I’ve ripped through a lot of books lately, so they are top of mind when I sit for my weekly “blog post writing.”

I prefer to read a fiction and non-fiction simultaneously to keep both fresh. My current non-fiction is Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act. I’m drawn to this topic as I suspect my creativity, from working a full-time corporate job and suburban-dad-life, is low.

I’ll do a full review after I finish; I’m only one-half complete. Nothing earth-shattering or revelatory yet, but great reminders about how to think about the creative process. One set of lessons mentions opening to the world… the artist is merely a vessel for the universe to create through (very Julia Cameron).

As I read Rubin’s book, I was struggling with a story idea for After the Second Wave (potential collection of short stories). Hugo, the main character, needs to leave his current location and end up somewhere else. I had the motivation and the backdrop but was stuck in exposition. I started and at least six versions of this story.

I was frustrated.

I took one day off from the grind and caught up on my George Saunder’s Story club… we’re discussing an old story of his “CommComm”. One of his statements about starting this story slapped me in the face:

“I like this feeling of starting a story en media res. It’s like overhearing a conversation from a nearby table in a restaurant. “He said that to me and I almost hit him.” Who doesn’t want to hear the rest of that? Just with that one under-indicating line, the story is already underway and… isn’t dull. It hasn’t made the fatal error of over explaining (an error I am going to try to avoid here as well).”

Wow. Duh. Stop explaining everything and just tell the damn story. Exactly what I needed. I’d written stories with in media res previously. Maybe this isn’t the aid Rubin or Cameron had in mind, but it delivered exactly what I needed.

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