It got me thinking about how chaos is as crucial to writing as coherence. And then I read this brilliant interview with Philip Ridley who says writing a play is
"like an explosion in reverse, you know when you see an explosion in reverse it begins with all this crap and rubbish all over the place, and then you play the film back and all these bits of detritus come together and they form a house, boom: 'oh, it was a house.' Whhhhhomph: “oh it was a chimney”. And that’s what creating something is like, it feels like it’s all out there and all you’re doing is kind of collecting it and gradually putting it together."
I think this is how I start writing—like Carrie frantically scrawling and underlining and scattering pages, I let rip and dream, dig, play, explore, follow my instincts, follow wrong turnings, get lost... It's anarchic and exhilarating. It can also feel a bit crazed and hectic.
Sadly I never wake up to find Saul has found a structure for my rumpled ideas; I have to do that myself. And that's the second part of the process, where the colder, more analytic work comes in. This is the bit with index cards and coloured pens and lots (but not too much) coffee. This work can be fun too—Stephen Jeffreys taught me that—but it's very different from the other kind of writing.
In Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande says the writer has to have a "dual personality". So one half has:
"the spontaneity, the ready sensitiveness, of a child, the 'innocence of eye'..., the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new; to see traits and characteristics as though each were newminted...instead of sorting them quickly into dusty categories and pigeonholing them without wonder or surprise; to feel situations so immediately and keenly that the word "trite" has hardly any meaning for him; and always to see 'the correspondences between things' of which Aristotle spoke...
But there is another element to his character...It is adult, discriminating, temperate, and just. It is the side of the artisan, the workman and the critic rather than the artist. It must work continually with and through the emotional and childlike side, or we have no work of art."From now on, I'm calling these two kinds of writing Carrie and Saul.