Monday, March 19, 2007

when getting in the head of a female...

i've had a lot of people ask me whether yesterday's post really happened (well, more than one person, anyway). and, yes, it did. i invented the old lady, urns, and pink slippers, but the basic storyline was conceived in the brick and mortar of the real world.

if time grew on trees (like money, leaves, and squirrels), it might be interesting to see whether my future elaborations of whitney's story got closer and closer to the truth or whether they drifted off in an entirely new direction, an entirely different kind of truth. i'm not sure which would be best, but either way, i still think that i'd struggle with writing as a female narrator. however, my brief encounter with SPU's writer types may have offered some encouragment (should i ever choose this unusual path) and affirmed my earlier writing strategy.

one afternoon, as the MFA students salt-and-peppered the room with their writerly epiphanies, mark explained that he'd had a breakthrough in writing his female character. he'd struggled for months trying to make her seem more natural: he'd made her obsessed with alcohol, sex, and sewing fabrics*, but nothing seemed to work. then one day he tried something counterintuitive: he decided to write her as himself, as mark the lumbering tall guy, just without the lumbering tall guy part. and it worked!

then, during an art and faith lecture, the MFAers tossed about martin buber's idea of writing as the other. they discussed the interconnected mirror-like relationship between the self and other seemingly foreign characters. now, all of a sudden, i'm starting to feel like a writer--i broached that very issue several posts ago! weird....

andrew david. "writer's block" greenwood, wa.

*i can't remember the third item that mark named, so i made this one up. it was definitely something less unisex than beer and sex. something like sewing fabrics.