The Autodidact|Act I

 “Seize the thing, the words will follow”_Cicero

The fascination of the Blanc page
For me, It has been always like that with me,  that I have some fear in the guts, just to approach the idea of writing, that is it was just only in the Mind,  that is when  to apprehend the idea of writing, the first time, I think. That is, at least, as it happened to me, or as it could happen the same to any writer; the fascination of the Blanc page, that is, in his or her beginnings as being a writer. Because, It’s not an easy affair. One has no idea what to write about. Then, you must have the guts when you start writing. Because it will happen often… And after I  had found the first sentence written, the question is, then what next? The next great idea, to get the hell out of the it.

All the trades have their tools. One must learn how to use them, such as  if  he wants  to be an artisan, of one the arts and crafts if any. It starts all with having  passion for something, in our life. Then, the writer has none of them , apart from having a pen and paper, and all the abstract thing it happens is in his mind. A painter has to go outdoor to look for what inspires him in Dame Nature, it’s like to a model that poses for him in his studio, for some fine expression in her traits or  to look around for  the things that trigger his memories, or for the instant glimpse until that’s when inspiration strikes.

A poet has his own muse, Clio, the others sisters of her, the nine,  Erato, etc… The Muses, in Greek mythology are the goddesses of inspiration of literature, science, and arts. They were considered the source of knowledge embodied in poetry, lyrics and poems, related orally for centuries since ancient times

That is, it all started burgeoning in my mind like that:

An imaginary dialog, or the sort settled  in my mind, as my eyes stopped looking to things though the apartment and outside the window pane , wandering without seeing them to halt on a sepia photo hanging on the wall. Thence, in a blur sweet haze it sent me back to an encounter with a familiar personae of my childhood, as it followed something like that, on the occurrence,  of my Grandfather, an illustre  character, a walking tempest  as he speaks his mind; imperial in his attitude, the patriarch at his sovereign presence:
“My grandfather had a very agrestic upbringing; his schoolteacher was a horse._The Reader Digest”

At the question, one day, he asked me what would it to be my expectations, in the future:
“A writer...” I said. " What! a writer! " He replied."You must be tripping. It is the same thing as of being an artist-painter or the sort, intelligent personae ; of all the trades: It is not worth it to make it one's job for a leaving; it will not feed its one's man and people neither. Period. "...
"_Look to all those artists, writers, painters, and fortune tellers; before getting famous, most of them starved to death before to get known, to get a praise, or if it always happens they got finally a post-mortem recognition, finally."

” Whistle Dixie’s…” He said, and on that he concluded, he stood up  and went on fulminating, on his way to the garden in backyard through the door, and still humming into his beard, once there. That day I was ten years old  I went to visit him, up through a goat path to the top hill, where the house of my grandparents dominated the valley,  over there, in Algiers, some five decades ago. It was what we call the ” Wuthering  Heights.”Our house,  We were situated downhill. That day I started writing. A letter, first. He asked for me to write him a letter to my uncle, the cadet of his sons, went abroad for the military. I couldn’t imagine writing this post then with all the technology of now. Since, those were the days of the Bic pen dominance,  and the fountain-ink pen and quill disputed the sovereignty on the mailing letter with letterhead, and In writing on ledgers and to official correspondences. Save that I used a ruled page teared from my school notebook; we still using inkwell and nibs for handwriting.

A parent, or someone, a friend or a relatively known by you, that he may say that to you, totidem verbis,  if by chance he asked you what do you do for a living, and if  he is closer to you enough and to the point of being familiar with you, that he can allot to himself the privilege  to launch this bittersweet jest in your face. Because, a writer is a solitary individual, ghost-writer, alone by himself, while other people are part in the herd, of a crew, a band, or a quipped group.

That is, not to say; a “scribouillard,”_ a script, in French, by all means, aka, a public writer; the one that we usually find siting with his typewriter, at the door of a public office administration in Algiers of old; to whom people often it is  relaid on him and referred to, to fill their indispensable forms, disputes  and demands.

Then, the person who’s  talking to you is really  in admire with you, that is, if you are a really a writer, a renowned one. For, the little few writers of that epoch were already known,  Alberto  Moravia, Sartre, Albert Camus, André Gide, and Paul Bowles, to name just a few.

Most of the authors and writers consent to say that, about their works on writing. Especially when it comes to that, the main character of the narrative is the one who is involved in the process of writing, besides, he is not that a literate or just to say, he is, ultimately, an autodidact like you and me.

Then, that one it’s you. Moreover, I suppose that it was the same for you; when for the first time, you “give it try” to write a book. Thence, you may say, it is like to put a saddle on the wind; you sit down with pen to paper, thinking about where to start, while your sight drifting away to tarry on some fugaciousness of the moment. “Too such as a fleeting wisp, as it resumes itself” then pursuing its way, just like a dandelion seed get caught in wind-catchers then went by. Yet, as you just say it loudly of “it’s such a singular evening…” Then a thought comes around perchance, to refine itself; as you are mused by the singularity of the word that you just put down on that blank page, a while ago.

On the other hand, it is like the “taming of the shrew”, as soon as a word is uttered, a bunch of meanings dressed up in adjectives, and epithets  to claim their obedience, roots and limbs come in unison together, aft and front, to an accolade. This led me to consider revising the idea on writing. It is like learning on the job-while-you-earn-process that some businesses propose often to the postulants,when you are looking for a job. Then, when you choose to make it for the living, you have to go down the mine. That is, a double-trouble challenges awaiting, a sure way to fail, anyway, but then just give it a try. Just as you start over and over, do not think about it, and keep on going, and do not look down, for vertigo is just right there at your feet, and only you have is to continue to juggle with words. Writing is a craft they say, first that you learn the skills. Then, with time, it becomes a habit; it is like the Natives Indians, well-known for they work at dazzling heights, on scaffolding, and walking on edge-beams and girders. It became for them a natural gait–a second nature–in that, as it is so easy for them, just as like for you as walking on the sidewalk of the street, or riding a bike, you do not think where to put feet and about your equilibrium at the same time as you ride. That is, letting the words fill in their slots naturally. We usually do not discuss semantics when we have something to say it straightforward; to make your point or something else like that. For that, the tools of the trade, you will be learning them in the same way that you had to repair your first flat tire of you bike in the middle of nowhere: if you remember, DIY, period. Then, I still recall a verse of Alfred de Musset: “C’est d’immiter quelqu’un que de planter des choux”, since the time ago when I was in a French elementary school, which means— is it in imitating someone, the same as in planting cauliflowers the same as gardening, isn’t it? _Gardening is a craft also, and it is like to have the “the green hand”, the same as to find the right word with the right meaning, ultimately << trouver-le mot-juste>> the dear saying to Flaubert, it is a talent that we perfect over  time.

Second thing: to not plagiarize someone else work, and of being honest toward oneself, and toward the other and knowing one’s own limits is your duty. Besides, it is the law. First thing, which I did, is was to throw away anything that I  did not created by my  own, which did not come from my proper thinking, or that did not fit in, or set in one’s values, and common sense. We all starts by imitating someone in our life, in our early work of any kind and style, same as anyone else did, be it an artist, a star, and even a clown–who is also an artist, in that, even if he fails to imitate, he continues to make people laugh; a tour-de-force, which is a prowess, and success in itself. Then, we have to find our own way and style. We had often seen people following others steps, imitating them in their gestures and manners, and mimic even their tics, to the point of being ludicrous.

Therefore, and to avoid the pitfalls, the best thing to do is to always put forth the job on the loom, to spin the reels until being satisfied with the work. Then, to know the moment when to stop, when more is less; like an artist always knows; if you look carefully to an art made by a great artist like Cezanne, you can see through it some traces of the sketches done before and left without paint on it. You can see through, stokes loaded with just the right amount of paint put on a flower, a fruit or a lace. That daub has all the colors of a rainbow, which makes that a work of art, a unique masterpiece in the world. That is, a book is like a canvas, it tells a story that goes through pages, in a design that resumes and concludes to a big picture within, a way that makes of it a bestseller’s work.

A life story, a pretext to hold the reader attention, like you drew  abreast to someone we pretend to stumble, or something in the way you talk. Because , to write is to talk to someone you don’t know. Writers and artists alike, are constantly in a quest of inspiration, and might sometimes as well, come to face “the syndrome of the blank page,” from now and then, especially when experiencing success, after having striven along the path of errs and tries, they appreciate then that tantalizing moment of triumph when inspiration strikes. The muse has a particular incline for poets since Aesop, perhaps because they spend the clearest moments of their time playing with rimes, and the darkest of it in teasing her, that for she inured to visit them more often, it has a whim that change depending of the mood of the poet. A character and a cave… a writing that I had started sometimes ago…no, not that sort of stories of what you might think, then you are mistaken; it is not a Dracula-vampire like story, and nor a Gothic novel, about knights and epics. That was, a certain essay among others assignments that we have to write about in the time I was in H.S. longtime ago. Which subject I still remember: what is the difference between a persona and a character?  Moreover, there were a trick that lies in the word persona. In the late 60’s, _on those days of yore, it was not yet the digital age, but still in its early infancy, it was more a handwriting literary epoch as now, and by then the  computer as Gadget   would pass unnoticed, it was still part of sciences-fictions, and part on the brink of actuality, a something in between. A computer was as big as a three stories building, and rather, a Olivetti Marguerite typewriter would make better sensation, but by then we could not afford it. Notwithstanding, that sort of thing you cannot imagine that someone-a boy carrying one around with him. Besides that, it was reserved only to corporate, businesses, and official administrations, and more particularly; it was a writers’ appendice. So then, the writing was done by hand, not to say that we were only students yet. Nevertheless, it was demanded to us to develop a story about a fictive person that we might know and imagine a story with a character resembling to that person.

Finally, it is time I think, to leave the everlasting meanders of an essay, to consider consecrating one’s mind to a narrative worth writing.  like to say, ” If  I knew my mind, I would not make essays. I would make decisions.”

Montaigne established the form when he said That . Then, I was constantly driven to that goal;  finding the Idea, the content in its pure extract after three-time distillation, like when to savor a sip of a good whiskey, a vintage wine, or  glass of champagne, salute! Have you ever read “A Room of one’s own”, the book of V. W.? Then, you may say, what is the relationship between this and that? She said so, also, in her book—“a woman must have money and a room if she has to write a fiction.” Another book, from another author in a place–from the pages of Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,” _From J.A.

In my opinion, it is stands also for a single woman, as to man if I would say.

Night-owl, I wrote it and or Early-Bird, All’right, I did it

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I woke up early at a wee hour, today, with in mind to put down the idea that I was looking for in late the evening, thinking that I would find it, when I’ll wake up  afresh, as a good night sleep is a mother of conseil, like the saying  goes, and as often it works;  the cause of it, a friendly reminder from Weekly Wp challenge, urging me to post one, to commit to my weekly goal; but I had no idea, I was wondering  what to write; it  just sucked me as I was updating some of my old posts, a working habit_taking advice from a French classical poet, Nicolas Boileau that he said:

“Polissez-le sans cesse, et le repolissez,”

a quote, I treasured since High-school, that my teacher loved to repeat when passing in the rows of students, in classes for homework  review. We might freely translate as ” Polish it without cease of strife, and  then polish it again,” advice since Greek and Romain times, then experienced  writers used to urge their disciple to practice, longtime before ” wax on wax off “_ Myagi the master’s advice to” Karate Kid,” in the movie.

Then it stroke softly my neurons, while I was listening to classical music; typically the chords  drift to them,” vissi d’arte,  vissi d’amore–I lived for Art, I lived for love”_Puccini my favorite, and it said it all;  I find this gem in the book (Charles Lamb _The Evolution of Elia, ) by George L. Barnett, chapter Five, page 127_The  Craftsman. In  a footnote to”Oxford  in Vacation,” the essay  in the London Magazine ” Fine things in their Ore”,  in the passage below, write it down for the pleasure to read it

“How it staggered me to see the fine things in  their ore!  interlined, corrected as if their words were mortal, alterable, displaceable at pleasure! As if they might have been otherwise, and just as good! As if inspirations were made up  of parts, and those fluctuating,  successive , indifferent! I will never go into the work shop  of any great artist again, nor desire a sight of his  picture, till it  is fairly off the easel; no, not if Raphael were to be alive again, and painting another Galatea.”

For those  who read for pleasure only, this may be a valid approach of my own;

“Night-owl, and Early bird I am, to write  it down, I needed an awl to carve that damn-good idea from its ore”_Ink’n Quill