The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Saturday, May 27, 2006




Patricia Parkinson

"Write what you know.”

I hear it all the time, “Write what you know, just make it about someone else. Draw from your own experiences and elaborate. Make your own life third person.”

So, write as if it’s happening to someone else, but I know everything about it. Be inside someone else’s head for real. It’s the best when it happens for real. It’s thrilling and freeing and makes it easier, for me anyway, to take more risks when the story isn’t about, “I”. But, then again, I asked myself, does anyone want to read what I know about pari menopause or the stress caused by the so called milk steamer on my espresso machine, told using a different name to protect my identity? No!

But maybe someone will want to read about what it is that I know I want.

My wants are something I know about. I’ll write about that, I told myself. And I do.

When I write a description of a room where the character resides, the lighting is great, the view is better and they picked the right paint color. Furniture is deep and lush and capable of sustaining the weight of two people in various stages of sitting, kneeling, you understand. If the scene is at night or happening on some day, just any day, want on a special day leads to disappointment, and I/Joanna (the main character disguised as me is named Joanna) finally kisses the man of her dreams, it’s written in what I hope is recognized as a longing for something beautiful, something romantic, perhaps unattainable that the reader can have for themselves from the moment they start reading it.

The homes in my stories are always near water, the ocean, not a lake; lakes are dark and ever present and deep and scary to me while the ocean’s tide fills me with hope. This is what I want. Hope.

Men in my stories are often flawed in a quirky, sad sort of funny way that makes me smile. I imagine the feeling of their first touch and can write it however electric I want it be. My men are kind and sexy; they have an edge and look good in jeans, and well, are madly in love with Joanna, so much so, that they worship her! HA! No, well, sort of. Challenge is a huge motivator for desire.

There’re men I write about from my daydreams. Daydreams I have of running into my husband unexpectedly. We have time on our hands for some reason that we don’t question so we book a room and stay for, who knows how long? Maybe long enough to wear the white robes after morning sex. Spontaneity. It’s a good want.

There are also men from my night dreams, from the ones I have just before I fall asleep. Men who hold Joanna without getting Barbie arm and make her feel safe. They whisper and are warm against her and the words they speak are the words I long to have spoken to me on a moon filled night by the ocean, on a deck, my deck, whispered when the kids are finally asleep and it’s been a long day and there’s dirt under my nails from gardening and the whispers are words I can trust.

I write what I know I want. Today I want, hope, spontaneity and trust. What does this mean? I have no idea. I also want to be less confused.

There are so many things I want. Emotions I want to feel and have felt about me that are so intense that I have to take deep-breaths to relieve the longing ache. With this ache comes the desire I have to express these wants and the hope that I can write about them from my heart, spontaneously so the reader trusts my words. Hope, spontaneity, trust.


This is a picture of my beach, 10 minutes from our home, White Rock Beach, White Rock, British Columbia, taken from the beach on the night my husband proposed to me...I got everything I wanted and more that night xoxo

View of the Gulf Islands
We live in a beautiful country..xoxoxo


Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Lovely piece, lovely beach. What more could you want? :) For me too, writing is dreaming about how things can be, should be.

Sat May 27, 11:35:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Oh Anna, thank you, the end was a mess, I read it to my hubby last night and was working on it till...well, till toooo late, and I hope I fixed the end, it was quite...confusing..lolololol..thank you, I think the picture is the best part of the post..xoxoxo

Sat May 27, 02:19:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Ellen said...

I love this exploration of wants and desires, Patricia. Very lovely and honest. And that photo is so beautiful. Glad you got what you wanted that night!

Sat May 27, 03:46:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

Beautifully said, Patricia. That beach is beautiful--the perfect spot for having the person you love propose to you.

Sat May 27, 03:54:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Randall Brown said...

How fearless are you? Send some of that courage and emotional honesty to your neighbors south of the border, would ya? A gorgeous, powerful, and wonderfully written piece.

Sat May 27, 05:15:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Nance Knauer said...

that longing ache. it's a huge power and you translate it well. don't ever stop!

Sat May 27, 05:55:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said... guys are the best!!! Thanks, I love you..xoxoxo

and anything I've learned about anything, I got from you..xoxoxo

Sun May 28, 12:12:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous Kath said...

This is so good. Thanks for writing this, Patricia.

Sun May 28, 10:30:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Lovely post, Patricia. it's interesting how writing about what you know sometimes means writing about what you'd like know.

Mon May 29, 08:42:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

Such a beautiful post Patricia, full of longing, and, yes want.

A joy to read. I need to go to the beach... soon.

Mon May 29, 10:12:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger kim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mon May 29, 09:11:00 pm GMT-4  
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