Monday, April 11, 2011
The Wallflower Way
A lot of writers are wallflowers by nature. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but, on the whole, if a body spends too much time at the ball dancing, flirting and drinking the spiked punch, that person is going to be too tired, busy or buzzed to write about it later. However, if a body lurks along the periphery observing the dancing and revelry, that person is going to hear and see a lot of interesting things. Some might resort to thinking interesting thoughts, or even, God save us, fantasizing.
And voila. Stories.
Wallflowers are ever alert to the scent of a story. Wallflowers watch. Wallflowers listen. Wallflowers wonder.
That last bit alone separates wallflowers from the gyrating masses.
When the wallflower gets home from the dance, he or she has built up a head of creative steam that must be vented. Clouds of words and sentences issue forth from teeming brains and hearts. Since wallflowers don’t expend all their energy dancing, they have enough to fuel sitting on their (frequently wider than average) butts for the hours it takes to hone their tales.
Many people assume wallflowers are forlorn souls yearning for the chance to waltz with the most desirable lad or lassie in the ballroom. They are frequently objects of pity and scorn. Ha. Being so misunderstood only preps them to write authentic Young Adult fiction well into old age.
Besides, it’s not always true. Some wallflowers could teach the whole room to polka if so inclined. Some are accomplished dancers who could make The Terminator weep for their grace and beauty. (It could happen.) Instead, the wallflower prefers to remain incognito in order to gather material and conserve energy for writing.
Wallflowers sacrifice. Wallflowers eschew pride. Wallflowers take the road less travelled.
Writing’s a dance that rewards wallflowers. I think it highly probable that wallflowers invented writing—possibly so they would have something interesting to think about during dances at the ziggurat.