Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The hereness and nowness

with 2 comments

Simon Gray

I’ve always believed—or think I have—that the hereness-and-nowness of life is virtually all there is of it, which of course explains why it is so difficult to grasp and get down in the hereness-and-nowness of writing, but doesn’t explain why ninety percent of my writing life seems to be spent in rewriting, and why it’s so hard to find the whatever it is—perhaps a burst of imagination?—that will spring me from the drudgery of recycling yet another draft of dead here-and-now, into the exhilarating here-and-now of not knowing what the next sentence will be even as I write it—though feeling pretty sure that it will be the right one, must be the right one, since the next sentence is following almost simultaneously.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will end up with a good play, only that I will have written a whole version of the play that I can no longer remember starting out to write, and that when I have written the last words of its last scene I can stop at last—though one of the troubles with the here-and-now is that it lacks punctuation, especially full stops—and sometimes, long after the play has been staged, I find myself back at its beginning, about to write its first words again.

Simon Gray, Plays 4

Written by nevalalee

April 2, 2016 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day, Theater, Writing

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2 Responses

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  1. That is one of the paradoxes of writing. We’re dealing with past events, distilling them, investigating under the surfaces, comparing them, even hoping for a return in some cycle. Sometimes, though, we come back to it totally new, as I experienced in the last revision of my newest novel (in progress).

    Jnana Hodson

    April 2, 2016 at 7:47 am

  2. Agreed—it’s a cycle, but it also leaves you subtly changed each time you come full circle.


    April 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm

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