Wednesday, May 13, 2015

True story


I'm realizing that the fun of this ghostwriting project for me is the chance to explore the interiority of the subject, to tell the external story, yes, but also to find the inner story of what happened, the feelings and quiet transformations that were provoked by outer events. It is not unlike writing fiction, because some of it you have to imagine, because your subject won't always tell you what things felt like in words that will translate to the page. So you take what she says and you enlarge it, and then you read it back to her and she says, "Yes, exactly. That's how it was."

I'm thinking it probably helps to be overly emotional in regular life, it helps to be a little bit depressive and prone to melancholy, and to have a hyperactive imagination, because you are then capable of composing a whole opera of feelings and emotions that might attend a situation, especially if given a running start by the person who actually lived it.

I can't exactly explain why it's the most exciting part, but diving deep into the interiority of my subject is what brings the whole endeavor to life for me. Hopefully it will do the same for anyone who might read this book one day. Until then, the privilege of interpretation is all mine.

As my son likes to say, "True story, bro."

The photo up top was taken by a wonderful photographer named Jorge Quinteros in a coffee shop in Brooklyn called Devoción. The middle sign caught my eye: "Give me an ounce of coffee good Apothecary to sweeten my imagination." I'm off to make my own coffee and hopefully to sweeten my imagination for the day ahead.


12 comments:

  1. Wow. Perfect post! Beautiful.

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  2. I love that picture and the original quote from King Lear Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination. There’s money for thee. DEFINITELY will choose coffee over civet any day.

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    1. Rebecca, I didn't remember the quote's connection to King Lear, though perhaps it was buried deep in the subconscious because that quote did reach out and grab me. Thanks for the reminder of where it originated, and yes, I too, would choose coffee. xo

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  3. Yes, your constitution is perfectly matched for the work you do. It's what makes you so brilliant at your writing and editing.

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    1. Vesuvius, I do think I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do work I truly love. (Pray that it continues to be paid!) Sending love to you and those wonderful girls of yours. xo

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  4. My experience of ghostwriting, just finished, is entirely different because it involved a science book. I did more editing than writing, I think and had little to no attachment to it except for interest because of its subject matter. I wish I could find a gig like yours!

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    1. Elizabeth, this gig was pure serendipity, the kind that makes me believe in the divine. I am grateful for it and trying not to think too hard about what comes after, trusting the next thing too will show up. But as you already know, not every ghostwriting project is as much fun as this one is for me, and even the fun ones have painful days where you're trying to work out where you're going. The woman I'm writing about is a firecracker, though. She so inspires me.

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  5. How we tell a story is as important as that we tell it at all. Lovely post.

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    1. e, send good wishes for magic to happen with this project! This woman's story should be out in the world. I'm glad I get to be a kind of midwife to it. xo

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  6. Replies
    1. Chrissy, well, that feeling is entirely mutual then. xo

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