Looking for the thing you can't see coming
Hola! With one night and one day to go, I thought I’d sneak this post in. Fill the night spot. Which is kind of apt, because it’s about one of the ideas that fed into Night Beach, a book that was written at night, and in the creepy hours at that.
Like Raw Blue, Night Beach started with a loose collection of things that interested me and I felt belonged in the same story:
- Being seventeen and in-between
- The ocean and its wildness
- Territorialism in surfing
- Art and obsession
If you want a quick overview of what the book is about you can watch the book trailer here.
The other thing I wanted to look at in the story is the way the subconscious feeds the creative process.
Early in his career, James Lee Burke (one of my favourite writers) came to believe “that the stories I wrote were already written in my unconscious by a hand other than my own”. In the same article, Burke talks about art emanating from a world somewhere beyond the appearance of things.
Other writers touch on this same thing in different ways. Jack Kerouac describes the art you create as the Holy Ghost blowing through your soul. Not long ago, I read Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy, in which he discusses this in relation to his song writing process. I also loved his description of the film maker Ray Lawrence as someone: “… looking for the thing he can’t see coming. Like a fisherman out on a lake, like a writer who turns up to his desk each day, he waits for the visitation.”
For me, it doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then (like some time during the eleventh month, after ten months of getting nowhere) something clicks and everything I’m doing suddenly becomes heightened. It’s that feeling you get when you’re really in the zone (be it when you’re painting or writing or whatever) and you start to feel like what you’re doing isn’t really coming from you anymore. It’s like you’re channelling something.
That’s what I wanted to explore – the place where art comes from – and it drove many of the supernatural moments in the story. And when I was working on the first draft, I had quite a few moments where I felt like my process was moving in weird tandem with Abbie’s. Admittedly it was always late at night, and admittedly I didn't really sleep much for those months, but still ...
How about you guys? Do you relate to any of that? Or have I just spent too much time sitting in a room alone???