“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.”
“What mood is that?”
“Last minute panic!”
That’s a Calvin & Hobbes quote, fictional characters in a comic series created by Bill Watterson.
~~I’ve always admired people who can come up with something funny everyday in the comic strips. Every day! Even if maybe you don’t think it’s funny, somebody out there probably reads it and laughs.
~~When I was at the book club meeting in Louisville a couple of weeks ago, I told the people there that I’ve always wished I could write funny stuff. Something that might make readers laugh out loud. But I don’t think I have that talent. On a good day I might make a reader smile. I think Jocie and Wes with their Jupiter talk did that in my Hollyhill books. I don’t know about the Shaker books. There wasn’t much place for levity in those stories. Of course Hannah in The Believer might bring a few smiles with her free spirit and wild white curls. And Issachar was always ready to smile. So maybe here and there I placed a smile.
~~But to think about coming up with a comic strip every day week in and week out that would bring a chuckle is definitely something I’d never be able to do. And just like in the quote above, the best smiles have a germ of truth in them. It is nice to be in the right mood to do your writing, but if I waited for the right mood, I would have stalled out on most every book I’ve ever written. And I can’t turn creativity on like a faucet. At least not an easily turned faucet. I have to sometimes wrench open those faucets of creativity to get out even a few drips. Push and shove those words out of my head and do a lot of hoping and wishing that when I read them over the next day they’ll sound better than I think they’re going to sound when I’m writing them. So that last minute panic definitely can come in handy. That’s what keeps you working when things aren’t easy. When your Muse has turned his back on you and is only taking a peek back over her shoulder now and again to see if you’re really serious about writing this story. It’s only after you’ve proven you are by spilling a few words, good or bad, down on the page that she might wander over and help you out. Ah, but then there are those days when the story words do come in a rush when suddenly the story is telling you what’s happening. I’m still waiting for that on my new story. Still pushing and shoving those words out on paper. Still keeping in mind the deadline that could turn into that last minute panic!
~~Do you like a book that makes you laugh best? Or one that brings a tear?