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Writing is a response to life

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Reading Kelli’s blog, I came across this:

My Honour’s project supervisor believes that writing is at its best when it comes from a place of uncertainty, of disconnection. He also believes that it’s okay to go back to something, re-imagine it, see what kind of echoes remain and look at it from a new perspective, end up in a new place.

I think of Nirav Christophe’s book Writing in the Raw, which I mentioned before, where he says “writing is response.” We respond to words, ideas, images, each other, to ourselves, to everything, to all of it.

Story is an experience, of characters with wants, taking actions, and then responding or causing a response in other people and things.

Now, when I read stories, I ask myself, “Why now? What has occurred to make you tell me this story now?” The act of writing a story is a response. Why does the narrator have to tell me this story now? What is the narrator’s agenda? And if not, why not? Also, why tell us? Why not someone else? If the story is not told now to this person, what will change? Will it matter if it is never told, never shared?

What seems to come from these questions, is the idea of urgency. I wonder how many stories that mean something to us have a sense of this urgency.

I read recently that the French writer Céline said “when you write, you should put your skin on the table.” I think this is another way of expressing this urgency. You have to take risks for your writing make a difference to someone. In your mind or your narrator’s mind, “If I don’t tell you this right now, we may likely both be screwed.”

Writing is a response to life. Writing is a response to situations and moments. Writing is a response to myself. Writing is risking me, putting a little bit of me out there into the universe in order to share this story. And if I don’t tell this to you right now, we may likely both be screwed.

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Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.