Here’s a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth.
– The opening lines of THE TICKING IS THE BOMB
Yesterday I went to see Nick Flynn. I took pictures. Not a single one turned out; every attempt a too-dark or too-light blur against the wrong landscape. This, even though I hauled in a very real and very heavy Nikon and turned off the flash and adjusted all the settings and, seemingly, set myself up, prepared to do it right. Funny how that can go, being too prepared.
Nick talked about the writing of THE TICKING IS THE BOMB, about how it was a book he’d had no intention of writing, didn’t feel prepared for, and how he wrote it anyway. The writing took 7 years. He wasn’t sure what the book would be when he started. Was it even a book?
After 2 years, the first draft was so scattered it was unreadable.
It took 2 more years to find a structure.
And so the writing went ….
Sound familiar, anybody?
I didn’t get his photo, but no matter. I have his words.
If an idea or subject comes to you and seems like a place you shouldn’t go, go there.
Do not fear being lost. Being lost is valuable for an artist. It forces you to come alive in a different way, to follow paths you might not otherwise follow.