Monday, May 30, 2011

The purple couch situation

One of the craziest things about writing, and life in general, is what I call the purple couch situation.

You've got this couch, dark velvety purple. Maybe it's tufted or just a big oversized purple couch, but you love it. It's not easy to work with a purple couch, but you congratulate yourself on being willing to take a risk. You buy orange pillows to go with it.

Then one day, something shifts. You turn on a light or your flip the blinds a certain way and it hits you -the couch is actually brown.

You are not a purple couch person. You are a brown couch person. The orange pillows are fine, but still, now everything is different. Had you known you had a brown couch, you might have taken other risks. You might have, for example, picked up some hot pink pillows to go with it.

With the writing, it happens when I look back on a completed draft. For a little while, purple, but then later brown. Brown-brown. And then butt ugly brown. This has been really freaking me out.

But I wonder if the trick in a revision is to keep trying to write the purple back in? To try to get back to the delusional state, but in a new way, until the couch stays purple or the draft feels complete.

I have this thing about honesty, yet with writing a certain level of self-deception must be cultivated. If this were just about life, I'd say face the brown! Embrace it!

But this isn't about life. This is about fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Purple couch... brown couch... what does your Heartbrain tell you? The Hearbrain always sees it for what it is.