The Autodidact |act one

It is always with some fear that you apprehended the idea of writing when you start a book. That is, at least, someone in his or her beginnings as a writer. Then you must have the guts when you start writing, besides the fear of a  blanc page.

“A writer…” you said.  What’s, a writer! You must be tripping. It is the same as for an artist;  of all the trades; It does not worth it for a leaving; it will not feed its one’s man. I still remember word for word, the conversation I had with  a family relative, some 40 years ago.

A parent or friend would say that to you, if by chance he asked you what you do for a living, and he is closer enough to you, to be familiar with you so that he can allow himself to launch this bittersweet jest in your face. That is not to say; a public writer that we  usually fond  sat at the door of a public administration office, a scribe whom people often had recourse to him to fill their indispensable forms, and demands. That was a truism, an opinion they had of a writer, on those time of yore. As the person in front of you is in admire, then you are a notable one, a renowned writer. For, the little few writers of that epoch were already known, like Moravia, Sartre, Albert Camus, André Gide, Poe, Berthold Brecht, and Paul Bowles with The Sheltering Skies.

Most of the authors and writers consent to say that, about their works on writing, and their fears. Especially when it comes to that, the main character of the narrative is the one who is involved in the process of writing, besides that, he is not that literate or just to say, he is, ultimately, an autodidact. Like in ” Six Characters in Search for an Author”, by  L. Pirandello, if I am exact in my quiz.Then, that one is you.

Moreover, I suppose that it was the same for you; when for the first time, you “give it a try,” to write an essay, by default instead of  writing a book. Thence, you may say, it is like to put a saddle on the wind; you sit down with pen to paper, thinking about where to start, while your sight drift away, your eyes stop to tarry a while on some fugaciousness  of the moment. Too such as a fleeting wisp, as it resumes itself then to pursuing its way, just like a dandelion seed that got caught by  wind-catchers, then went by.

Yet, as you just say it  aloud, of “such a singular evening”, talking to yourself, a thought came around, enlightening  one’ mind, to refine  your thinking, as you are mused by  the originality of the words that  had you  put down on that blank page, a while ago. On the other hand, it is like the taming of the a shrewd, when the weaver’s hand had lost it cunning, as soon as a word is uttered, a bunch of meanings dressed up in adjectives and epithets  to claim their obedience, roots and limbs alike, in unison they  gather, aft and front, to an accolade.

 Overcoming my fears, after  miles of doodles , strikethroughs,  and a bin full of creased blank sheets , driven at that point,  it led me to consider revising the idea on writing. It is like the-learn-while-you-earn- on the job that some businesses propose often to you when you are search for a job. Then, when you choose to make it for the living, you have to go down the mine. That is, a double-trouble challenges awaiting, and  it is a sure way to fail, anyway,  Just start  over, even if you have to do it over and over, do not think about it and keep on writing, and do not look down, for vertigo is just right there, and only continue to juggle with words. Practice, practice ; make it a motto vocci. Practice or, go upstairs  to the attic, open the  door of the closet, or look under the desk and shot that bear between the eyes , and  then the fear is gone.

Writing is a craft they say, first that you have to learn the skills. Then, with time, it becomes a habit; it is like the Natives Indians, well-known for they work at dazzling heights, on scaffoldings, and walking on edge-beams and girders. It became for them a natural gait–a second nature–in that, as it is so easy for them, just as like for you walking on the sidewalk of the street, or riding a bike, you do not think where to put your feet and about your equilibrium at the same time as you ride. That is, letting the words fill in their slots, naturally.

We usually do not discuss semantics when we have something to say straightforward, to make our point or something else like that. For that, the tools of the trade, you will be learning  them in the same way that you had to repair your first flat tire of you bike in the middle of nowhere: if you remember, your fingers stained with the sticky  2-solutions liquid from the tubes, the DIY, ” and…” period.

Then, I still recall a verse of Alfred de Musset: “C’est d’imiter quelqu’un que de planter des choux” since the time when I was in a French elementary school, which means— is’nt  it in imitating someone, the same as in planting cauliflowers!–is  still gardening also.

Gardening is a craft also, and it is like to have the “the green hand”, the same as to find the right word with the right meaning, ultimately << trouver-le mot-juste>> the dear saying to Flaubert; it is a talent that we perfect over time.

Second thing: to not plagiarize someone else work, and of being honest toward oneself, and knowing one’s limits is your duty. Besides, it is the law.

First thing, which I did, is to throw away anything that I did not created by my own, which did not come from my proper thinking, or that did not fit in, or set in one’s values, and common sense. We all starts by imitating someone in our life, in our early work of any kind and style, same as anyone else did, be it an artist, a star, and even a clown–who is also an artist, in that even if he fails to imitate, he continues to make people laugh; a tour-de-force, which is success in itself.

Then, we have to find our own way and style. We had often seen people following others steps, imitating them in their gestures and manners, and mimic even their tics, to the point of being ludicrous.

Therefore, and to avoid the pitfalls, the best thing to do is to always put forth the job on the loom, to spin the reels until being satisfied with the work. Then, to know the moment when to stop, when more is less; like an artist always knows; if you look carefully to an art made by a great artist like Cézanne, you can see through it some traces of the sketches done before and left without paint on it. Then you can see stokes loaded with just the right amount of paint put on a flower, a fruit or a lace. That daub has all the colors of a rainbow, which make that work of art a unique masterpiece in the world. That is, a book is like a canvas, it tells a story that goes through pages, in a design that resumes and concludes to a big picture within in you mind, a way that makes of it a bestseller’s work.

Writers and artists alike, are constantly in a quest of inspiration, and might sometimes as well, come to face “the syndrome of the blank page,” from now and then, especially when experiencing success, after having striven along the path of errs and tries, they appreciate then that tantalizing moment of triumph when inspiration strikes.

The muse has a particular incline for poets since Aesop, perhaps because they spend the clearest moments of their time playing with rimes, and the darkest of it in teasing her, that for she inured to visit them more often, in that  it has a whim that changes depending of the mood of the poet’s moment. Any of other sistergodesses;  Aoede could be disturbing, then Mnemene would hold me on taking the train of thoughts, while Melete left me with a thoughtful wish.  Which of the others muse, Melpomene or Calliope or Erato would I steal  a quatrain,  or a prose, I am still perplexed

A character and a cave… a writing that I had started sometimes ago…no, not that sort of stories  you might be thinking, then you are mistaken me; it is not a Dracula-like story, and nor a Gothic novel, about zombies and vampires.

That was longtime ago, a certain essay among other assignments that we have to write about in the time I was in H.S.  Which subject I still remember: what is the difference between a persona and a character?  Moreover, a trick lies in the word persona.

In the late 60’s, _on those days of yore, it was not yet the digital age, but still in its early infancy, it was more like a handwriting literary epoch as now, and by then in the perspective of having  one, a computer,  would pass unnoticed, it was still part of sciences-fictions, and part on the brink of actuality news, a something in between.

A computer was as big as a three stories building, and rather,  a Olivetti Marguerite typewriter would make better sensation, but by then we could not afford it. Notwithstanding, that sort of thing you cannot imagine a person a boy, carrying one around with him. Besides that, it was reserved only to corporates, businesses, and official administrations, and more particularly; it was a writers’ appendicle. So then, the writing was done by hand, not to say that we were only students yet. Nevertheless, it was demanded to us to develop a story about a fictive person that we might know and imagine a story with a character resembling to that person.

Finally, it is time I think, to leave the everlasting meanders of an essay to consider consecrating one’s mind to a narrative worth writing. Like to say,”If i knew I would not make  essays. I would make decisions.”

Montaigne established the form when he said that. Then, I was driven to that goal; finding the Idea, the content in its pure extract after three-times distillation, like when  to savor a sip of a good whiskey, a vintage wine, or a glass of champagne, Salute!

Have you ever read “A Room of one’s own”, the book of V. W.? Then, you may say, what is the relationship between this and that?

She said so, and J. Austin also, in her book—“a woman must have money and a room if she has to write a fiction.”

Another book, from another author in a  place–from the pages of Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in the want of a wife,” From J.A. In my opinion, it is stands also for a single woman, if I might say.

    <– to be continued–>


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