Sunday, 29 April 2012

Why "Story River"?

A friend pointed out to me that this site's title might require an explanation. I suppose, that on the face of it, it doesn't really. I think that the connotation is clear enough - a flow of stories - which is what  this blog is supposed to represent, but there is a deeper meaning, I have to confess, and it has to do with the initial process of writing, as it pertains to that all important figure, myself.

It's about being in the zone, when words and ideas are coming faster than I can put them on the page. It's always exhilarating, that's for sure - a high I can't get anywhere else. It's as if it's not coming from me, but some place outside of myself. I've heard other writers talk about this, always with awe, always with that same sense of humility. "It's not me, it's something else." Stephen King called it, "That place where the stories are." (I shouldn't have used quotation marks as I'm paraphrasing, but I think that my recollection is accurate enough that I'll leave them in) The implication being that the stories already exist in some ethereal form, on some other plain, and that he's simply a conduit. You might laugh at the idea, but you wouldn't if you've ever been there.

Maybe it's nothing more than an attempt to avoid liability for an ego gone wild - a way of disavowing that we are in any way responsible for our deep immersion into our 'self'. We writers are an egotistical bunch, after all. I think that we have to be to do what we do. Confidence is a must in our trade, and the more the merrier, but I don't think it's that, exactly, at least not all of it, not even close.

I think that the stories do already exist; try telling me they don't when the words are appearing on the screen so fast that, when I next look up, ten pages have been written in what seems like the blink of an eye. Try telling me that I'm more than just a conduit when, at the end of the day, I'm coming down from that high, and I feel like something unimaginably powerful has just flowed through me. I may smile and nod my agreement (I'm Canadian, after all, it's what we do) but I won't believe you. For me, the place where the stories are is a river, infinite and continuously flowing. To go to that place is to wade into the water and let it play through my fingers, letting it wash over me until I become a part of it - not it of me. That's when the stories come - or to be more precise, that's when I can see them, because they were already there, just under the water's surface. All it took was to become immersed, to become of the water, and allow them to flow through me.

In my opinion, it's as spiritual as it gets. At various times I've been at the keyboard laughing, crying, happy, sad, angry or in mourning - the entire gambit of every emotion conceivable - and none of it has anything to do with me, but what's coursing through my mind.

So there, I think that's the best that I can explain it. If you think it sounds eccentric, well, we're a pretty eccentric bunch, too - egotistical and eccentric, yep, that pretty much sums us up. But that doesn't mean that what we believe doesn't have meaning. If I stopped having faith in the river, I might as well close up shop and take up stamp collecting. That might be more lucrative, but I can't imagine it ever replacing that high...

No comments:

Post a Comment