Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Empty Pot

I once heard a proverb from the Tao Te Ching that went something like this: "We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want."

I have come to believe it is much the same for story writing. The fundamental elements of the story form only the shell--the plot, the setting, the characters, etc. The drive behind all these elements must come, for lack of a better word, from "elsewhere." From the inside emptiness where we shut up and listen to what the story is doing and saying and naturally trying to become. I know from my own personal experience that a story should NEVER be forced into being or it becomes something it is not. The narrative thread frays into an exercise in syllabic futility.

So treasure the emptiness. Don't give into the demons of frustration and hit the delete key when the story doesn't flow in a stream of scintillating sentences. Rather, relish the pause. Wait for it. Let the emptiness inside you evolve.

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