I just wrote this to another 'storyteller' (author). After I finished it, I thought it would put a smile on everyone's face and after all ... that's all I'm really interested in! It's also an insight into the way I really look at things and since this blog is 'The world according to yours truly,' I guess it's okay. So keep reading and smile!
(I'm already opining where this starts ...)
Re: importance of story/voice and what we (fiction writers) should call ourselves – I’m creating my own science here but hey, it’s my world – I think of storytellers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, engineers, etc. – all of the genus: Creators. This is my Judeo-Christian faith speaking now but I consider all who create beauty (the definition of beauty is in the eye of … well you know who) to be doing something our Creator does (hence calling Him Creator) and that is very powerful!
My point and what I’ve learned from a few decades of creating music, machinery and stories is that the very best creators never focus on the tools … and to a creator EVERYTHING becomes a tool that they may use to create their works.
I learned this as a journeyman mechanical engineer from one of the greatest inventors of our time (his name is Venerio J. Rigolini, an Iwo Jima Marine who holds 22 patents in everything from cameras to plastics). What I found fascinating was how he utilized everything around him as a potential tool, in order to create/invent.
At first, his cavalier attitude towards the way he treated his tools really upset me. For instance, he would be staring at something on a machine he was inventing and without even looking up, he’d grab basically anything resembling the tool he needed. So in order to pry a gear loose, he may grab a brand-new shiny phillips-head screwdriver (that he just had me clean) and proceed to bend it by using it as a crowbar. The bottom line … he fixed the jam, the machine started working and that’s where the beauty (and profits) came from.
In other words and something I learned … the bent screwdriver didn’t matter (I still battle with that). My point: to storytellers, words are merely tools, just like the programs, machines or pens we use, the paper we use, the reference materials, etc. So there is NO misusing of words (grammar, punc., blah blah blah) IF their misuse produces beauty.
As old William S. would say, … the story’s the thing!
Words for storytellers, musical notes for songwriters, clay for sculptors, paint and brushes for artists – all just tools of our creativity.
I shall now return to the top of the mountain upon which I was sitting and meditate some more (grin).
On another note, I really do struggle when someone asks me what I do for a few reasons. First, I’m not even sure what they mean by ‘do.’ Do they mean, ‘do to pay my mortgage?’ or ‘do to pass the time?’ or ‘do when I’m not watching Star Trek reruns?’
Then I stumble over my answer. I tried ‘I’m an author,’ but my wife, in her South Philly bravado and wit added, “So, now your a friggin’ author?” <sigh> I confess, I don’t feel worthy to say I’m an author, since people like Tom Clancy and WEB Griffin can call themselves that.
Then I tried ‘I’m a writer,’ but every time I said that, this mental picture of my wearing a fedora with a press pass sticking out of the band and rushing towards a phone booth with a little note pad and pencil in my hand made it feel … wrong.
So I’ll try your idea Kris (Kris Rusch is the author to whom I wrote this), the next time I’m asked, “What do you do?” my reply will be “I’m a storyteller!”
Then I’ll ask them if they wouldn’t mind dropping a nickel into my tin cup. (grin)
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Dean Wesley Smith