I am working on a piece of writing, one I started early last week, that has grown more fascinating, intense and heartbreaking as I've delved into it. It has to do with all the letters I received when I was running Swirly, and I am still in the stage of pouring words on page without worrying too much about what it all means. Or at least trying not to worry too much about what it means, and I say that because my teacher has already - after just three classes - totally nailed me for being a tad too eager to figure out the meaning behind every new story.
So I am trying not to think too much about the ultimate structure of the story, but old habits die hard, so I've already dipped my toe into the process of mapping out the journey this story might take. It is not a complicated story as much as it is a story ripe with interesting tangents and themes, filled to the brim with bits and pieces of insights into the human experience. My challenge is figuring out how to pare it down and organize everything in a way that gives the reader a smooth sail through all the elements of a story that pulls fruit from many different trees.
I printed out what I had written so far yesterday and after some small edits, began cutting the pages apart - literally - by key topics. I have basically put a number of small stories in one big story without any thought of arrangement or order, and now I need to start working on how this piece will flow. I am probably getting ahead of myself, but to sit here at my desk with a stack of odd-shaped manuscript pages, knowing I am now free to play with the order as much as I want, gives me a giddy feeling. It is kind of trippy to take my visual approach to creativity and bring it to a written approach, where the way a story looks on the page is just as important as the way it is written. I am playing with using white space and imagining the paragraphs I've now physically separated as mobile entities that can move around as often as necessary to get it just right. It feels more like a mystery to solve than a problem to dissect, where the story will tell me where it wants to go as long as I'm willing to sit still, listen and do the work.