Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Flash - Variations on a Theme

Last week the good folk at the writing support/guidance/social networking group Literary+ (to be found on the Google + Social network site) ran a weekly Flash assignment: writers' addictions. The request was specifically for lighthearted, fun things; notebooks, pens, and chocolate rather than heroin, whisky, or illicit sex. Black as my soul is, I'd perhaps preferred a touch of darkness but chose to, for once, play more-or-less by the rules. I played a bit with mood and form, sketching a writer's addiction to writing in second-person present tense. Not my deepest or most interesting flash piece, but I liked the first paragraph. Perhaps it's a set of ideas I'll revisit at some point in more depth.

I played this one pretty straight, but I appear to have one of the higher quirkiness levels in this particular group. For the workspace photo contest, for example, most people showed cozy desks littered with pens, ink, pulp, and electronic devices. My photo (honorably mentioned as the most creative)? The very place where I'm writing these words: the 7 Train, westbound towards Manhattan. (Photo is at the Queensborough Plaza station. One stop east of "my" stop at Court Square, but sometimes I hop off early to get in a few blocks of walking).

Your Two Addictions to Writing

You awaken before dawn, to the LCD light of the alarm clock, yellow sodium light filtered through carelessly half-closed curtains, rhythmic breathing from the bed beside you. Take the pen from your notebook, quietly stride in the half-light to the door, gently pull shut behind you. Black coffee. The cat rubbing against your feet. Shards of last nights tangled with yesterday's plans jangle in your head, grinding, streaking, screaming at you. A sip of bitter black coffee quickens your heartbeat as your fingers dance across the keyboard, words and pictures and ideas flowing as the dawn comes, unseen and unnoticed.

You race home early, to the mailbox. Sounds of traffic, your neighbor's dog, the kids across the street all fade very far away. Your breath, your heart pause as fingers rifle through envelopes, for that one SASE even as you flip open on your phone one more time, checking for another review, a blog comment, cheers, applause, attacks. What did they say? Did anyone get it? Will they buy it? Then, to the keyboard, unpaid bills and advertisements and magazines sit discarded and forgotten for the moment. Now will come answers, now will come replies and, maybe, the next piece to send off into the world.

Which are you? Addicted to process, to the flow of words, the alchemy of ideas and experience and coffee and good gin? Or to the result - to human contact, to the feeling of reaching someone, touching someone, changing the world?

Addicted to writing, or addicted to having written?

Interestingly,  Tressa Green mined a similar vein, but relied more heavily on metahphor. You can see her effort (and check out the rest of her blog) here. My first paragraph has almost the same message as her piece, but in vastly different form to dramatically different effect. Does one work better for you?

Next week, I promise a technology post! Until then, thanks for listening. 


  1. It's good to see everyone's different takes and views on things though. It's what keeps it all interesting.

  2. Addicted to having written for me, I'm pretty sure. The actual writing process is work. To hold the results in your hand (physically or metaphorically) is just awesome.

    I'm passing on the Leibster award to you. It's over there-