Co-optimal

So.

Because I am a Writer, and writers are nutjobs, I have decided to let Tallulah tell me what’s what, in as literal a manner as possible. I have intentionally switched on a voice in my head, and am now listening to its feedback on my decisions.

Turns out Tallulah and I work pretty well together.

This is her project. I’m doing it for her, on her behalf, bringing my skills to the table to help mediate her experiences and turn them into a story. I guess it’s a bit like trying to direct a piece somebody else has written, to try and strike a balance between representing their voice and making sure that the audience is satisfied by way of recognisable and familiar narrative conventions.

I am on a serious trip right now.

And it’s partly because I’m over-tired, but it’s actually working kind of really well right now.

Because why not separate the biographical and the narrative into two distinct sides, and then let them go at it? Only in this situation, instead of a fight, it’s a collaboration! I’m the people-pleaser here, the editor from the publishing house I guess, the interviewing journalist, and Tallulah is my subject, the one with the experiences that I so want to tell as a story. Her story.

It’s like when I went on that two-day bender with the Original version of the story – if I hadn’t committed so fully to it, I wouldn’t have gotten what I got out of it. Commitment, people. If you’re gonna do something, commit to it. Give it a chance to work, the best chance that you can.

She’s in there. She’s got her own voice, her own agenda … she is her own person, stored up here, in my brain, and I’m finally ready to listen.

Let the madness begin.

~~~

First of all: a ‘solution’ to a tricky chapter. It’s always been a tricky chapter, but now I’ve realised how it can not only be a fitting chapter but an essential chapter, and I don’t want to let it go. Tallulah wanted it in there, with a few changes, and then I had my mind blown by following through with certain ideas that it brought forth and now I’m champing at the bit to get it down.

I think this is the key: finding the desire to make something work, to take some aspect and, problematic or not, liking it so much that there is no alternative but to find a way to make it work. To find that drive for telling, for showing, for putting this out there into the world and in other people’s way. In an un-obnoxious way.

But I mean stories can be a little obnoxious, and intrusive. Mostly people like it when stories intrude.

So long as they’re good ones.

And if not, well, then they die.

~~~

Tallulah has a lot of thoughts to share. It’s very clarifying. It’s stuff I already knew – obviously – but hearing her say it is I’M NOT CRAZY ALL RIGHT I’M JUST DOING WHAT WORKS YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT WE SHARE IS BEAUTIFUL

All of these themes, these situations that I couldn’t quite find the words into, she’s giving to me straight.

And that’s something else – I’m acting as a translator here. She has the experiences. I can’t tell her what her own experiences are. I’ve got to get them for her. So my words, my articulation of those experiences, is always going to be – at first anyway, while I’m listening – that of somebody getting the information first-hand, not the actual experience. That’s her position. She can say things about it that I can’t, because she understands it in a way that I don’t. It has affected her in a way that I can understand, but have not experienced from her perspective, and never will. Then, once I get it, I can copy her words down to make them shareable.

~~~

This has basically turned into a full-on interview … and it’s worked out pretty great. I have all of this inside information that I just didn’t before – or I did, but I’d just seen it and played around with it; I never heard her take on it. I never asked.

Partly because I didn’t want to act like a crazy person.

But in another sense, I’m just acting.

This is basically just role-play.

Maybe that’s why it’s working so well.

I think … the more seriously you can take your project, whatever it is, and the more effectively you can apply your imagination to it, the better you’ll be able to do it. Like me talking to Tallulah here. She speaks so fast that I can’t even make out the words, because, like, it’s all going on in my head anyway. I like the idea that this is what telepathy feels like – no words, just the meanings. Just the message.

I’m getting all of that clarity that I wanted for my characters as well, so that’s good.

~~~

Interview over, and I feel like I’ve just now begun to actually understand what this story is actually about – and why.

I am incredibly tired. I’m not just saying this to try and excuse my little diversion into psychosis; I was trying to tell my dad about what I did today and it all felt like it happened yesterday. I’m that tired. And I probably wouldn’t have let myself do this if I wasn’t so tired, so uninhibited.

I’m glad that I did; this was so clarifying. I remember now that I wanted to do those character interviews, but I didn’t mean it so literally. Perhaps I should have.

Well, it worked out anyway, and that’s all that matters.

How about you folks? Ever gone over the edge and trusted some strange, half-sleeping psychological exercise like this to find a way deeper into one of your stories? Ever interviewed your characters? Role-played your way through a scene? Felt like a crazy person for doing any of the above?

Gotten enough sleep?

Me either. Well, I mean a few times, but most definitely exceptions that prove the rule.

Let’s see how tonight goes. I’m out. More planning at some point tomorrow.

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