Write Here, Write Now: The Importance of Imagination.

It’s not enough to say you’re a writer; you must have something to show for it, some kind of proof. Whether they’re lines from a poem you wrote when you were four, or outlines for the next Great Irish/American/British Novel, a writer, fledgling or otherwise, will have something written down. Somewhere.

I was tidying out my bedroom the other week when I came across a hand-written manuscript dating back at least ten years. Three things surprised me. First, my handwriting is terrible. I can read the parts where I wrote when I was sober. I can’t read the parts where there was drink taken. You see, I wrote most of it in my local pub. I sat at the counter and drank while writing the book that would make my fortune. I was the source of much amusement to other customers, as well as the owner of the establishment.

The second thing that surprised me is the way the story made sense, in a surreal nonsensical kind of way. Each paragraph, each chapter contained scenes and dialogue that to this day fills me with a certain amount of pride. It had Beatles lyrics sprinkled about the place; it had spectral observers; it had angst and unrequited love – all in 27 drunken pages. Stephen King had nothing on me.

The third thing that surprised me is that I wanted to know where the writer was going with his story. Namely, where did I want to go with it? Was there an endgame? Would the story be worth pursuing? Was it important enough to me to continue?

And that, for me, is the crux of matter. When I was young, I read comic books – as I’m sure most of us did to some degree – but I would copy the story into a notebook, using the pictures and speech bubbles as prompts. I “wrote” Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog stories from 2000AD. I used Captain Kirk and Mr Spock as templates for new adventures set in other universes. In other words, I used my imagination. It was important for me then, and I guess it’s important for me now.

I don’t drink any more, but I now work in the pub where I started my then magnum opus. I may go back to it one day…when I have the nerve to do so.



8 responses to “Write Here, Write Now: The Importance of Imagination.

  1. Been there. I wrote the Great American Novel at 18. The whole thing (all 150-160 handwritten, booze-assisted pages) centered around a phone number which, oddly enough, I still remember – KEnton 8-4139. Fortunately, I knew it was mostly crap and chucked it in the trash. I wish I’d kept the non-crap parts. They were pretty good.

    Hang onto it, my friend. You just might awake one morning with the key.

  2. It can be a scary thing finding creative works years after we’ve written them. I can remember thinking I was quite the writer back in college but when I found some of my old work parts of it made me cringe!!!!

  3. The things you wrote years back may sometimes suprise you. More than once I’ve found old pieces I did not remember writing, some of which didn’t entirely suck.

    The problem for me is, some of the stuff I did back in the day really was terrible. Even some of those pieces that got a kind of critical acclaim back then.

    So the problem is this (and it is a serious problem) will the things you write today embarrass you in 10 or 20 years?

    And the more important question is this: Should you let a fear that they might be embarrassing keep you from writing them today?

    I hope not.

  4. Definitely hang on to it, and definitely think about finishing it. I do most of my writing in cafes, so Im not so much drunk as pumped full of caffeine. Its a very bad habit…
    Most of the stuff I find from when I was younger is utter rubbish, but sometimes I stumble across something which I really love, and try to build on them.
    Good luck!
    Emma http://ideasofawanderingmind.wordpress.com/

  5. It’s amazing how we forget about things we’ve written in the past and when we find them again it’s like ‘Wow! I actually wrote this?!’
    Sometimes that wow is more ‘OMG! What utter shit!’ but sometimes, just sometimes mind you, it’s ‘OMG! I’m fucking brilliant!’

    You go and give Stephen King a run for his money, darling.

  6. Pingback: Setting, place, weather… « Mine & Other Stories

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