By Quassan Castro
Some people think that in an effort to write a masterpiece, they need to be far away and have some type of spacey venue to relax. Well, the space should start in the mind first. Find a space in the mind and begin to create the essentials needed for a great story-words, images, characters, plot. All begins in the mind. Once the story starts to unfold in the mind, find a place. A space that draws upon the inner workings of the mind, perhaps a room with colors that stimulate the creative flow. Sit in quiet and listen as the story unfolds. You might need to bring your chattering thoughts to a halt, so that you can create stories in your space.
Creating the voice can be complex because some writers’ become plagued by which writing voice they should bring to life. The process of calling characters into existence can be a great responsibility. Who you give a voice too may take on a life of it’s own. The following questions may arise: Should we watch what we create? Each voice becomes an identity, whether true or false; doesn’t all stories have an identity? Maybe it’s worth creating if one can arrive at truth.
Some people seek the answer too life through fiction and non-fiction, they are after truth.
They read line by line seeking a portion of the writers’ mind. Some of what we hold as truth, is not based on facts, but a reworking of the truth. As we grapple with finding a way to present the truth and protect those whom are the players, the mind again overflows (should I write how bad my father treated me? or should I mention my best friend secrets? or should I reveal my innermost feelings?) So we create characters/voices to tell the story.
I am not plagued by confessional writing more so than I am plagued by dishonest writing, where the confessional voice is silenced to meet the needs of those who might be offended by the writers’ words. Silencing the authentic voice can be crippling. At what point do we not compromise our voice? At what point do we provide the ‘truth’ even in the face of hostility? ‘The Man’ journal is another form of confessional writing. Some call it a diary: A place where we can share thoughts known only to ourselves. I think of Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison and imagine they understood the art journaling. I think of the many times in youth I had the opportunity of writing down my words, but cringed at the thought of ‘discovery’. My great mentor taught me the value of writing everyday. The practice of writing on a consistent basis helps to stimulate that space in your mind, which seeks to self-actualize and create characters. The voice becomes stronger with time.
When you write, imagine a space in your mind where you can be more than just thoughts bothered by rejection. You have an obligation to tell the story even if fury erupts in the eyes of those who do not understand the room created in the writers’ mind.
Quassan Castro is author and freelance writer. He lives in the NJ/NY area. He recently completed an edgy, realistic novel geared for the YA market. His work has appeared in Essence Magazine, The Sundance Writer and Prentice Hall Structure Reading.
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