Today’s Idea Factory Writing prompt taps into something we all have in abundance.
In the opening of Violette, the biopic of writer Violette LeDuc written by Martin Provost, Marc Abdelnour and René de Ceccatty, LeDuc (who has not yet taken up writing) has an argument with Maurice Sachs, who gives her some unconventional and not necessarily altruistic or kind-hearted advice:
SACHS: Take this exercise book. Cool your ass off under an apple tree. Spit out on paper everything that makes you so unbearable. We’ll all be glad of it, especially you.
The film shows how Violette LeDuc did exactly that: sat under a tree, began to write, and launched herself on the convoluted journey that ultimately led her to become a ground-breaking, prize-winning, celebrated writer. (It’s a remarkable film that is incredibly honest in portraying the emotional vulnerability of writing and I highly recommend it, especially to women writers.)
I’d like to draw your attention back to Sach’s advice: “Spit out on paper everything that makes you so unbearable.”
Human flaws? Insecurities? Vulnerability? We’ve all got that in abundance.
The question for writers is whether we have the courage to channel that into our writing.
Have you ever tackled writing “everything that makes you so unbearable”? If not, and if you are in a position to do so, what if you gave it a try?
Note: Drawing from the darkest aspects of our selves isn’t the only way to write (obviously) and it isn’t a safe or appropriate course in many circumstances. When you write with dangerous or volatile material, please take care of yourself and do so with safeguards and support in place. And, if you set yourself this sort of writing project, please put it in a drawer for a good long while until you can view the text objectively and decide how you want to proceed with it.
Not all exercises are “nice” or “fun” or “light”. This prompt is a tough one. Now might not be the right day for you to try it. When you’re ready, commit to the prompt and see where you go. I promise it will be interesting.
Did you know the Idea Factory is looking for guest posts? If you’re interested, check out the details here: Wanted: Guest Writers for Idea Factory
Image Credit: Neil Bryant, based on a photo by VaughnSaball. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.