Sunday, April 20, 2014

Harder Than You'd Guess

Last evening I watched Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, a one-man Show on HBO. He's been presenting it on stage in New York City and has just released it for TV. I'm so glad he did.

If you get an opportunity to see his performance, don't hesitate. It's really worth your time. It's poignant, funny, sad, and engaging as only Billy Crystal could make it. He's a terrific writer, actor and comedian in addition to having lived an extraordinary life.

Watching 700 Sundays has inspired me to take another turn at trying to write my own story without making it read like a tedious recitation comparable to the "begots" in the Bible. I think the characters in my story have enormous appeal if I can keep their appeal from getting lost while I wander through my life's meanderings. After writing three novels and being half way through writing the fourth, you'd think I'd be adept at figuring out how to pull this off.

I once had a writing instructor who wisely cautioned his students that writing about yourself is harder than you'd guess. I think he meant to say that writing about yourself and making it interesting to someone else is harder than you'd guess. Maybe we're so wrapped up in our own experiences that we forget the reader hasn't "been there nor done that." We're coming from the perspective of someone who knows what things looked like, smelled like, and among other things, felt like. Maybe we're forgetting how much detail someone might need to appreciate the story as we ourselves do.

In the meantime . . . I'm working on writing Chapter 13 of The Storm Women. I'm embarking on writing Opal's life, and I think she will be the most interesting character to write about. She lived the hippie lifestyle of the 60s and made her mark writing music and lyrics.

I'm writing this on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014. The day dawned warm and sunny here in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. As I was blogging about writing my own story, I realized that Jesus lucked out. Several guys got together long after His life's story ended and wrote all about it. It's a best seller even!

How did those men know what to write and how to write it? They obviously disagreed about some of the facts, and they didn't know Jesus personally in the literal sense. I wish I could have spoken with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about how they managed to write such an enduring classic. Certainly their characters had enormous appeal.

Departing observation: Whether flesh and blood or creatures of fiction, our characterizations can make or break our stories.

Keep the faith and keep on writing!

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