- Rob Pincombe is a prolific television writer, recovering comedian and sometime comic artist/storyboard artist who just wasn't satisfied with a single blog. He writes about sci-fi and fandom at rebelalert.com, Canadian comics at comicanuck.com, and shares thoughts and insights on writing at starkravingadventure.com
Friday, November 5, 2010
LOST IN THE TRANSPORTER - How do you focus those scattered ideas and fight through the fear of writing?
Welcome to the rebellion.
This year has been a filled with much creative turmoil. I haven’t been satisfied with the status quo and have been trying to make things happen by exploring new directions and long-ignored dreams and ideas.
The result? Predictably it's been chaos. I’ve spent of the year feeling scattered as I lurched from project to project.
Sometimes I feel like I’m caught in that moment when Scotty (or Geordi, or O’Brien, or B’Elanna, or Lt. Arex, or Trip depending on your series preference) slides up the fader to activate the transporter pad and all the atoms and molecules that make up Leonard McCoy (or Crusher, Pulaski, Bashir, the EMH Mark 1 or Phlox) are spread across the universe, suspended on the edge of infinity as they wait to be reassembled on the newly discovered planet below.
Inside that nanosecond, all those molecules are hurling around, touching, flowing through and smashing into every point in the galaxy, weaving themselves, however temporarily, into the very fabric of time and space.
While McCoy is standing on board the Enterprise (NSS-1701A through E or whatever), he’s also back in sick bay, walking the streets of the Romulan Empire with beyond the neutral zone and a part of every spray-painted rock and plastic plant on that planetary soundstage below. In touch with all but unable to touch or change anything at all.
Every creator knows that initial, overwhelming moment of inspiration when an idea starts to form in your head. In that ecstatic, birthing stage of creation the choices are infinite and anything is possible.
Anything at all.
But when an idea is suspended in the infinite, its atoms co-mingled with all creation, it’s completely indefinable. I mean, how can you define everything? When something is still everything, it’s really nothing at all is it?
That quantum thought cookie defines the very essence of the creator’s challenge.
Every creator also knows we have to reach into that churning, shining chimera of creation and pull it in some direction. Any direction. We shuck away everything the idea isn’t in our search for what the idea will be.
That act of choosing is what defines it. Once we do that it’s no longer linked to the infinite. Rather, it becomes infinitely itself. Unique. Ours.
That’s hard enough for one, single idea. But for many of us it’s not so much the one idea that haunts us, it’s the dozens of ideas per a day that swirl through our brains and harass us to reach into the maelstrom and give them form.
Somehow it always helps when I write those ideas down. Somehow by confining them to paper they feel “captured” and I can move on, secure in the knowledge that they will be waiting for me when I finally get to them. But I will I ever get to them? For most of them the answer is no.
This year has seen my online garden of blogs slow from a sporadic but steady climb in output to a hiccupping crawl. Truthfully, I am always amazed by bloggers who write full time yet somehow manage to maintain their blogging so spectacularly. I get so busy that sitting for another hour of wordsmithing can seem more like a punishment than a reward.
So where do I go from here?
I feel free to explore to the world of ideas here at Rebel Alert. Other outlets feel too specific for that kind of writing. My science fiction isn’t about genre, robots and ray guns. At its heart, science fiction is about ideas. It’s about extrapolating the human experience of today in a way free to explore the true cost of a given way of life -- the cost of our decisions taken to the extreme.
I feel grounded in other genres. But ah, when I have the universe at my creativity’s beck and call, that’s when I surprise even myself! Like a blind transport, I often have only the faintest inkling of where it will all end up. That's my kind of ride!
And so, I shall continue to push through the chaos of all those idea molecules crying out to be pulled from the infinite into the definite though the din sometimes grows loud as thunder. I keep trying to move forward on all those projects despite frustrations, dead ends, dangling threads and varying results. It's so hard to forgive myself. It's hard to silence my inner critic. It's hard to keep track of so many moving atoms. But deep down I know that as long as those atoms stay safe in the transporter pattern buffer, Mr. Scott can always bring me home.
I am moving. But is it just spasmodic thrashing or definite steps toward something new?
Past experience has taught me this dazed and confused transporter feeling goes hand in hand with working my way through to a new level of creative output. I had thought that maybe Rebel Alert would not be a part of that new paradigm.
Yet today the transporter beamed me down here.
Perhaps there are still new worlds to explore after all.