7.29.2010

For Friederike, A New Look at Brewing a Story.


I started out writing this post as a comment in response to Friederike, who commented on my last post. But then I realized, why not explore this further in an actual blog post? So here are her thoughts and my response. And thank you, Friederike. Though we have yet to meet in person, your tweets and comments are a huge encouragement and motivation for me to write!

I like the idea of brewing a story - like coffee! Because I am both, coffee- and literature-addicted, and I also know that the taste of coffee changes, depending on the time of day you brew it, of the place and even country where you do it. (May[be] it depends on the water ...) Think about Greek mokka or Turkish coffee! What I am thinking about: When I change the place, live somewhere else, will I brew another writing style?

Bethany Says:

Friederike, that is SO true! I know that when I write, the setting that I am in, my daily routine, my experiences each day, the people I am with, etc, will inevitably influence the tone in which I write something and what I am willing to write about.

For example, when I was traveling in Europe for 3 months, my writing was nonstop. More than that, the subjects I wrote about changed. How I wrote about myself and the world changed. How I viewed the home I returned to changed. (Not to mention my preferences in coffee!)

And now, I've found that having my own space - my own office, and my new apartment - has had a surprising influence on my writing habits. I write more, I write freely, I'm less discouraged then I was before.

Last night I was working on a piece, and when I got to that point where I wasn't articulating accurately anymore, I was actually able to stop and say to myself, "Come back to it later, and you'll have the words you need to finish it."

That is quite possibly the first time I've ever had the self control to do that. At least when it comes to my personal work.

This is why I have a hard time agreeing with critics who claim that a writer's personal life doesn't have an influence on their work. We may never know for sure the extent to which a writer's personal life flavored their writing, but you can taste the difference from one writer to the next.

That's part of what makes writing so incredibly important : CONTEXT. History, culture, personality, experiences. It's what makes it taste and feel so right. It's what keeps us coming back for more. Fiction or non, there is an underlying context to the written word. One sip will give you a taste of the rich soil that it was grown in. The toil or tender care that went into harvesting it. The journey that turned a seed into a good story. And it's addicting, just like any good brew. 

This is also why I find it so important to remove myself from distractions - television, music, company - when I'm writing. You have to be able to hear your own thoughts and discern whether it was you or something else that has tainted or flavored them.

Thanks again Friederike, for that intriguing comment! I will now go back to sipping my morning coffee and get to work.

You can find Friederike's blog here, though some of you might need to brush up on your Deutsch. :) 

3 comments:

Jeff Finley said...

Isn't it amazing how the Internet brings people from other countries and cultures together? I know it's the World Wide Web, but I'm always excited to get blog hits and comments from people overseas even though I'm writing on a local newspaper company's Web site.

Friederike Schmöe said...

Wonderful post, Bethany, thanks! I'll be musing about coffee, writing and - well - living for quite a while. For years I used to write sitting at my desk, but now I changed somehow and appreciate writing first and last versions in cafés or just somewhere else. But revision and editing is still a work I do at home. By the way, this exchange of thoughts via internet is more than amazing ;)

Bethany said...

I know this exchange has definitely made me more conscientious about where and when I write! And I'm so delighted to be able to connect with other writers online since not many of my friends are interested in it as I am.
Thanks again for keeping up with me!

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