I’ve been telling friends I got a magic pen for Christmas. “Ooh what’s that?” They ask. “It is a magic pen. It stores all of my writing I do in a notebook onto the internet,” I answer.
I have not tried it much yet. Frankly, I am unsure of making the switch. There’s something beautiful about your hands on paper, carefully writing each word, softly and with purpose.
There is something thrilling following a spasm of thoughts and ideas, this quote, that line, combining thoughts into a new approach never thought of before. I enjoy the ideas that come at random times yelling, screaming, a page on fire with the frenzy of the mind. Your body trying to keep up with the record. Your notes wherever they land.
It is a fact that most words are just not needed. Most ideas are meant to be forgotten. Later if they return, like lost loves sailing home, then they are a keeper. They pull at your heart for too long until you cannot forget and must explore.
But what about the rest? They are left to fade, to crumble or be tossed away. Do you really want to see them? To let all thoughts fill your computer? Would it not overwhelm the art of cleansing, of finding that right words, that right idea that pulls you forward? Would you see the best if there was just too much to see?
I’ve now opened the pen in the box. I haven’t downloaded the app or set it up just yet but I will try it. I will let my mind of the cloud hold all the words for me. Let it sit where it is visible, searchable, taggable, clickable. It is made up of only words. The same ingredients I love. They all have meaning and are waiting for the final touch, the act that brings them together to make something meaningful.
I told my business partner I got a pen from Christmas. He is tough and straight to the point when he speaks. So I left out the magic part. He gawked at me: Your boyfriend just got you a pen?
And I had to explain it all over again, beginning with the magic part.
Driving down Woodward towards New Center you pass under an overhead bridge. It is grey and crumbling but the center holds clear with bright white words: viral, viral, viral, viral, viral.
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You swoop right under these words and they stick with you for a moment, graffiti of the mind.
I have a love / hate relationship with the word and the action of going “viral” online. It sounds like a disease - the spreading. It is something any writer should want today: millions of readers reading and sharing as their work goes viral. Yet it can be manipulated, obnoxious, the cat memes and lists, the best of our days.
Storytellers often suffer from two types of pain.
These pains are a part of how we emotionally deal with the job of storytelling. They should not be approached lightly. If you are experience these pains you should avoid seeking the medical attention of alcohol, drugs, or the too extreme option of giving up.
Instead, try to understand why you feel the pain and how you can create to counteract the symptoms you may be experiencing below.
Pain #1 - The Roots
The first pain is the pain of holding onto a story. This happens when you’ve carried around an idea and let it grow inside of you. The idea begins to take roots that poke out through your body, begging for release.
There was a time when I couldn’t stop thinking about addiction. I thought about addiction as it’s struck my sister. I read into the topic searching for meaning. I formed deep sympathies with those suffering and then I held onto a story idea. I carried around the pain the character felt for too long. I was unable to explain my emotions and held it all inside.
The symptoms: This sort of pain is a swelling. It begins to appear at first in waves and then into your daily life. You’ll hear the character’s voice or constantly think back to the emotion associated with the idea. It will feel like your own emotions. You may obsessive seek out other stories or experiences in relation to your story. It will grow and grow inside of you until you start writing. You may deal with psychological symptoms of guilt, dread, anxiety, fear, shame while avoiding the story. You are essentially avoiding yourself.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” - Maya Angelou
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