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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Out of Nothing

I’m frightened of writers, the woman told me. They steal you away. They write you up as soon as they get home.

No we don’t. What we do; it comes out of nothing.

It’s such a weird impulse, this manufacturing of fictions or poetry. The strange concoction of intangibles that writers put together. A bushel of memory and a tray or two of observations.

Selected nothings.

A paper twist of emotion. A fine gauze of thought. Nothing to hang on to.

A stammered utterance. A roar of silence. Snatched from the air.

The absolute and the implied. Stirred in a pot.

7 Responses to “Out of Nothing”

  1. Ole Blue says:

    To me, basing a person on someone out of reality stifles the personality of the character. One may take a certain aspect from an individual, but the imagination has to mold the character into a multfaceted personality which helps carry the story.

  2. Carla says:

    I agree with Ole Blue. On the rare occasions when I’ve attempted to base a character on a real person, either it doesn’t work or the character quickly evolves into someone new with only the slightest connection to the original. It seems that they have to come out of nothing to be alive. If that makes any sense?

  3. john baker says:

    Thanks for the comments. There is, of course, the school-of-thought which attributes every character in the novel to an aspect of the author. While I don’t go along with this completely, I have discovered more than once that some of the nastier characters in my books have something to do with the ‘me’ which I routinely suppress in day-to-day life.
    I don’t think I wanted to know that before I knew it, but it came out to meet me anyway.

  4. stacy says:

    i have this uncanny sense that the stories we tell, the characters who appear, are in some dimension, real. now i am not actually as odd as that makes me sound (and i dont even write speculative fiction) but i still feel some kind of connection to the characters in my stories – as though i know them somehow.

    i had a woman ask me recently about my new collection of short stories. she asked if “all those things had happened to me” i said “good god no!” that would be quite a tragic life!

  5. Pearl says:

    beautifully put John.

  6. PJ says:

    Hear hear!

  7. lou says:

    I decided seriously to become a writer on the floor of my room 9.15 yesterday morning (descision no.615) . Through my years, several people from different walks of life have suggested that i should pick up the pens, but i’ve always filled the idea under ‘the future is nice’. I have never been able to drink in reality, i’ve always been one of those ”best if you dont types”. But, i find it gives me an amazing creative burst, usually the day after. everything picks itself apart and i can smell life with an amazing lucidity. i want to take a bite out of the concrete. I want to get better and the floor of my room is no place for a man when he has a perfectly good bed to sleep in. dont be one of those people who can, but never do. I worry its too late for me, i have wonderful ideas but no discipline and can feel myself slipping into obscurity. dont wake up on the floor please; deciding instead of doing, pick up the pens.