Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Wrong Inspiration

Today I sat down at my computer, intent on getting that huge oft-mentioned paper done. Just as I was getting started, I had an idea for an improvement to one of my fiction stories, a fantasy/satire that I have been working on, on and off, for several years. Eight hours later, I was shocked to discover that it had grown dark. I got an additional fourteen pages of work done today, but it was on the fiction story! The paper, sadly, still lies in neglect.

The fiction story has an interesting history with me. Its roots come from a "choose your own adventure" story that I wrote for English class in ninth grade (age fourteen). I lengthened and revised it a bit for another assignment in my tenth grade creative writing class. Then, when I was twenty and a junior in college, I revised it into a fantasy story, keeping only the general premise and a few of the adventures the same. Most of the things I had come up with in high school were scrapped. A year later, I revised it and lengthened it again. Then I didn't touch it again until this year. In the past month, it has been revised yet again, and, thanks to my work from today and one day a few weeks ago, is now about twenty pages longer. At sixty-four pages, this story is now the longest that I have ever written. My thesis, of course, will soon change all this.

It's odd to have one story that has, in a sense, grown up with me. The alterations reflect improvement in writing style as well as changes in personal philosophy and ideals. I wonder what this story will be like when I'm thirty or forty. Will I continue to revise it as I grow older? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I need to get it out of my head so that I can get my mind back into WWII, where it needs to be right now.

Professional writers don't know how lucky they are - they get paid to do what I keep distracting myself with. Well, back to the grindstone - the correct one this time!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"