ON ADDING TO THE WORLD’S BABBLE
2/04/2014 – ON ADDING TO THE WORLD’S BABBLE
It is easy to throw words down on the page. But how much more difficult it is to choose which of these words are worth keeping, worth sculpting, worth sharing.
It is obvious to me that I can force myself to write something every day for however long I choose to write. I just follow a stream of consciousness in my brain. In fact, it is probably good for me to force myself to write because otherwise—most of the time—I keep my brain padded in cotton. It hurts too much to think and to reflect.
I find myself getting lazier and lazier as I go day after day, year after year, without trying to get the words down, much less sort them out. But once I start putting down the words, I start feeling like a polluter, just adding needless babble to an already over-babbled planet.
Like the song says (to paraphrase poorly), what the world needs now is another love song just like it needs a hole in the head. It needs more babble just as much.
On bad days, I can’t help thinking that a writer needs to write the way a dog needs to pee on every tree he passes.
I’m at a point in life and in my writing career where I’m relatively certain I’ve said almost precisely the same thing before. Many times before. I’m almost certain that such sentiments have inspired novels as well. I can’t help but think that I have nothing at all to add to the world’s wisdom and idiocy, delusion and terror and delight. Except perhaps my own story. Or a good story.
So if I write more fiction, what would be most worthwhile? Fulfilling? Fun?
I can’t see myself as a genre writer, and yet, clearly, what people want and read and need is good diversion. I generally don’t think in terms of plot but in terms of point—and there, as I said, I see myself less and less as having anything much to add. It’s okay, I suppose, to follow the meanderings of another person’s mind and to find comfort in the similarities. But I need to tell a story.
So the two types of stories I’m considering these days are: 1) variations of my own life and times, or my family’s life and times, because, in the end, they are the only things I have that are unique, or 2) some form of historical novel because, after all, I do have some kind of special interest/training in such matters. The latter would require research. It would require me to be interested in something (ah, there’s the rub). So I’ll have to dwell more on this. Right now it just feels good to be putting words down and doing my own part to pollute.
TERRA ZIPORYN is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and science writer whose numerous popular health and medical publications include The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, Nameless Diseases, and Alternative Medicine for Dummies. Her novels include Do Not Go Gentle, The Bliss of Solitude, and Time’s Fool, which in 2008 was awarded first prize for historical fiction by the Maryland Writers Association. Terra has participated in both the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Old Chatham Writers Conference and for many years was a member of Theatre Building Chicago’s Writers Workshop (New Tuners). A former associate editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), she has a PhD in the history of science and medicine from the University of Chicago and a BA in both history and biology from Yale University, where she also studied playwriting with Ted Tally. Her latest novel, Permanent Makeup, is available in paperback and as a Kindle Select Book.
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