Still not dead. Still writing sometimes. Either this is the first real evidence of my insanity or a somewhat decent take on the philosophy behind creative writing.
To work in creative writing, in storytelling, you have to be able to access lives. Not just be capable of crafting a character, but a whole life. Building fictional spaces can’t be where your work stops, you need to experience those fictional spaces in every possible way.
Characters can’t know they exist to fill archetypes, can’t be handed plot armor, they have to take those mantles, by force, from the author and audience. Characters exist in physical realms for those who consume the medium, and they (the audience) can compartmentalize them however they see fit. Those who write them well must be connected to their life and be able to enter their notion of reality. They need to look at everything in the very fashion the character, not the author, would. There is a fallacy in this notion, certainly.
Bear with me as I wax philosophical for a minute. Every person living is experiencing a different life. My understanding of everything is different from yours. Literally everything. We cannot actually share a true reality. Even our agreed upon truths and safeguards for civilization and emotive creatures aren’t the same for any of us. Sometimes those differences are massive and noticeable, but what I’m talking about is more simplistic and broad than that. My understanding of, experiences with, and value of anything cannot match anyone else’s. The details of humanity are too beautifully complex and violently chaotic for that. The methods by which we store information and use that to interact with the world is a deeply personal thing. One alteration to our experience would vastly render us different. If we ventured into an alternate reality that only differentiated from ours in one way, whether it is the name of butterflies or the hand you use as dominant, you would find yourself alienated from your alternate reality self. You wouldn’t be able to think the same as the other version of yourself. It can be fun to consider this, to give reality this much elasticity. It is also alienating and puts humans on a path of solipsism. I think this is unfortunately true.
Now, there are methods by which one can get a sort of look behind the veil of other peoples lives. A glance at the network that connects us. Methods to get “online” a sort of spiritual and psychic internet. Meditation, drugs, shared experiences, sexy maybe. But being able to see the others, or talk to them even, aren’t the same as being them. You are still connected via your understanding, experiences with, and values regarding these cosmic treats. You’re still using “software” you designed yourself and you happen to own the search engine. I’m not against fostering these connections. I’ve dabbled in all the methods above and love all my time spent “online”. It’s only on those grounds I’m comfortable in my conclusions. We haven’t mastered self-awareness as entities. We haven’t escaped the reality of human consciousness. I think it is unfortunately true.
See my fallacy? I’ve made creative writing essentially impossible. If to write is to express lives and you can’t ever truly escape your own, how the fuck can you write?
The answer is you can’t. Writing is like conducting an experiment. You can’t ever actually prove anything, but you can disprove dumb shit and elevate certain theory’s credibility. A writer’s job is trying to create places where others live. Good writers make those places seem like a place you’d want to visit on your own consciousness internet excursions. Good writers elevate the good places and populate them with characters that don’t have to prove anything. Their characters spread out, touching the surfaces and melding with the place. The good writer sets out to birth creatures and lets them roam freely and develop into what they need to be, not what the author wants them to be.