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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Flashwrite #3: Time and Space

I mention the Bram Stoker panel I attended at NY Comic Con on October 13th. (This isn’t the same datebook Dacre Stoker talked about in his lecture, but here’s a fun article in the Guardian.)

Here’s Charles Bukowski’s poem “air and light and time and space.” Read it, print it, post it above your desk.

How did you create space for yourself this week?

* * *

(I was going to wait until this guy who’s using his leaf blower down the street finally puts it away and gets a beer, because, y’know, it’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. But I might be waiting for another hour, and I’m ready to record now. So maybe we’ll get some silence and birdsong toward the end of this. Anyway!)

I want to talk about time and space. I think a hammock in the backyard is the perfect place to talk about time and space. On Twitter recently, someone was saying how irritating it is when she tells people she’s written a book, and they say, “Oh, I wish I had time to write a book.” Yeah. The thing is, no one is going to give you the time, and no one is going to give you the space. You have to take it for yourself. Yes, I know we all have responsibilities, but you work around those responsibilities. And like I was saying before, you don’t have to carve out an hour and make it your perfect writing practice, because you might never begin if you set such exacting standards for yourself–right? So you need to carve it out however you can find it, and I mean literally: if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and pretend that you are on the potty, just do it, because usually people will leave you alone if they think you’re using the bathroom. Lock yourself in and do what you need to do (with your journal, I mean).

So I was at New York Comic Con last weekend, which was really insanely fun. They have all different kinds of events and panels there, and one of the panels was about Bram Stoker. It was led by Dacre Stoker, who is Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew, and he was showing us pictures of his journal–his datebook. What was really interesting was that he had not only scheduled everything he had to do with his actors–because he was the business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, so obviously he was a very busy man, and he would take the company on tour, and he was working out all the logistics, I’m sure–so he had that going on in his datebook, but he also had his characters’ movements along with his own in the real world, which is just absolutely fascinating. And so he was saying, “Okay, Harker’s in Romania, and Lucy and Mina are in Whitby,” and whatever, along with his own appointments, which I thought was really cool. So the point of this is, Bram Stoker was really, really busy. He was not a man of leisure, a gentleman poet who had all the time in the world to sit on his country estate and write. He was not one of those. He was a very busy man, but he got it done.

At this point, we start making excuses–why we can’t find the time, why we can’t make the space–and the best thing I have ever found for lighting a fire under my own tushie, to make the time and create the space, is Charles Bukowski’s poem, “air and light and time and space.” I’m not a huge fan of Bukowski ordinarily, but this poem is amazing, and it will light a fire under your tush. So guess what? I have it, and I’m going to read it for you right now.

[I read the poem.]

Whoever was using that leaf blower is done, and I hope he grabbed himself a beer. (Or she! I hope she grabbed herself a beer.) So what should we do? I think the easiest thing to do is, right now, turn off your computer and lock yourself in the bathroom (unless of course you have a hammock in the backyard, and you can fold yourself up like this and pretend that there’s no one in here). Hide! Hide yourself, however you have to do it, hide, and take five minutes, just five minutes–you can clock yourself, time yourself–and write. Just do it. If you need an idea, write about a place inside your imagination where you feel free, and there’s no one making demands on your time or attention. It can be by the ocean, or it can be in outer space. Just describe this place. What do you see around you? What are the smells? What does it feel like? Is there sand underfoot? What does it feel like? Is it wet sand? Are there animals? Are there bird sounds? Anything. Whatever. Anything. Just take five minutes and do it. (And I’m going to do the same–right here!)

* * *

Flashwrite #1: Make a Beginning.

Flashwrite #2: Loosen Up.

Next episode:

Flashwrite #4: So Long, Inner Critic.

(All Flashwrite episodes here.)

1 Comment to Flashwrite #3: Time and Space

  1. crazyliberalkate's Gravatar crazyliberalkate
    November 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I love an excuse to lock myself in the bathroom 😉
    As soon as you said about writing about a place and all of it’s sights and sounds, etc, a whole new world began to fill my head. What a great idea!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.