Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Is Writing Fiction Like Walking In Space?


If you’re a first-time visitor to this blog, you may not be interested in writing—perhaps you’re more interested in reading?

Spacewalking

Image courtesy of NASA

Perhaps publishing?

Today’s post is about writing (and maybe about reading); but, there’s an easy way to find lots of posts about reading and publishing—just scroll down in the Subject Index Links over there on the left—click on whatever keywords suit your interests :-)

However, it could be very profitable for anyone interested in any of those three topics to look into the other two

So, today’s topic was suggested by my Best Friend, Jane Watson—“why not do a post about how writing is like walking in space?”

And, since I consider writing one of the most strange professions in the world, comparing it to spacewalking seemed like a worthy endeavor.

First, for those who may not know—spacewalking is when a person in space puts on a special suit and leaves the spacecraft to “walk” in space, like in that image up there :-)

There’s an article on Universe Today with an interview of one of the most famous spacewalkers, Chris Hadfield.

Here are a few of the things Chris has to say about the experience (if you’re a writer, see if any of it sounds familiar…):

“Nothing compares to being alone in the Universe; to that moment of opening the hatch and pulling yourself outside into the Universe.”

“…suddenly you do this one step, and suddenly you are in a place that you hadn’t conceived how beautiful this could be. How stupefying this could be. And by stupefying I mean, it stops your thought.”

“…the experience was just overwhelming!”

“It’s like…the most beautiful music just filling your soul. Or seeing an absolutely gorgeous person where you can’t just help but stare. It’s like that all the time.”

“…it’s an extremely distracting place to work.”

“…you feel this great human achievement of building this great structure that takes us to a place we’ve never been.”

“It is infinitely worth all the thousands of steps it takes to get there. It’s a great, great thing – I recommend it very highly.”

I’m certainly hoping some of you will share your feelings in the Comments about how spacewalking is like writing, ; but, I’ll share some of mine right here:

When Chris says, “being alone in the Universe”, I can totally relate—there I am, writing a book—a Universe of its own—and I’m very alone

Also, the Universe is So Big—how in the world can I write about it all?

O.K., I have to choose certain parts of it and make them “indicate” the rest………

I think this quote from Chris sums up what I just said:

“…suddenly you do this one step, and suddenly you are in a place that you hadn’t conceived how beautiful this could be. How stupefying this could be. And by stupefying I mean, it stops your thought.”

Might this be a part of what some call “writers’ block”??

And, there’s one word Chris used that certainly describes a first-time writer’s experience—“overwhelming”.

Then, his statement—“…it’s an extremely distracting place to work.”

Yes, spacewalkers do enjoy looking around and ogling the Universe (including the Earth); but, they’re out there to do work

And, writing within a book’s Universe can absolutely be “distracting”—reaching the middle of a sentence and wondering where it’s going—finishing a chapter and not being able to disentangle yourself from that one so you can write the next one—locking yourself in a room and forgetting you live on planet Earth

Then, there’s this quote from Chris—“…you feel this great human achievement of building this great structure that takes us to a place we’ve never been.”

Spacewalkers must climb into a spacecraft (“this great structure”) and blast off before they can float weightlessly.

Let me share one of my personal theories about writing fiction—the book exists before you write it—in your Unconscious, in some metaphysical place, or in the Mind of God?

If that’s true (and, I feel it is) you do have to “climb” into it and “blast off” before you can spacewalk in the book’s Universe

And, finally, in spite of losing sleep, in spite of going “crazy”, in spite of “losing yourself”—“It is infinitely worth all the thousands of steps it takes to get there…”

So, if you’re a writer, do, please, share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments; and, if you’re a reader, do you think reading, itself, is like walking in space?
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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